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Tenant who subleased room and kept up to five cats ordered to leave rental

An ACT tenant who leased a room in her landlord’s property on Booking.com and housed up to five cats without permission has been ordered to leave the property.

In a recent ruling by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT), the tenant was ordered to vacate the home following violations of the Residential Tenancies Act.

The tenant was found to have engaged in unauthorised activities, including leasing a room through Booking.com and housing up to five cats the landlord didn’t approve, according to ABC News.

The case highlights the tenant’s breach of the Standard Residential Tenancy Terms.

Specifically, she sublet parts of the apartment via Booking.com without seeking approval from the landlord.

Additionally, ACAT discovered the tenant had kept “possibly four or five” cats since as early as June 2023 without prior permission, further contravening the lease agreement.

During the tribunal, the tenant conceded to subleasing a room on the accommodation-sharing platform for several months, ceasing only after receiving a notice to rectify her actions.

She argued she did not know she had to have approval, despite having sought permission for a similar arrangement in Queensland five years prior.

The landlord challenged the cessation of the sublease, providing evidence of continued activity until early this year.

However, the tenant presented emails indicating an attempt to terminate her Booking.com account before October 2023.

Despite these efforts, ACAT ruled the breaches as unresolved within an acceptable timeframe, resulting in the termination of her tenancy.

Adding complexity to the case, the landlord, who is severely allergic to cat hair, provided photographs and testimonies indicating the presence of multiple cats in the property since mid-2023.

Although the tenant later requested permission to keep the cats, it was only after a breach notice had been issued.

The landlord also accused the tenant of making false statements on her tenancy application concerning her pet ownership, which the tribunal found plausible given the tenant’s known relationship with cats.

In defense, the tenant argued her pets were with a friend and her frequent work-related travels precluded the need for disclosure.

Nevertheless, the tribunal was convinced of a misrepresentation, especially considering the tenant’s cat-sitting and fostering activities.

Significantly, the tribunal noted the health implications for the landlord, who provided medical evidence of severe allergies to cat and horse hair.

With plans to return from London and occupy the apartment later in the year, the landlord argued the presence of cats posed a substantial health risk, although she acknowledged failing to notify the tenant of her return.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.

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