Paw-some news for pet owners who live in Strata Title

Paw-some news for pet owners who live in Strata Title

KEY TAKE-OUTS:

  • Keeping of animals by-laws
  • Changes to laws concerning keeping a pet in Strata Title property

The law is changing where it concerns keeping a pet in a Strata Title property.

Each strata scheme has its own by-laws. By-laws are rules setting out what owners, tenants and in some cases visitors can and cannot do. However, there are restrictions on the types of by-laws that can be made. By-laws must not be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive.

On 12 October 2020, the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales ruled that a by-law of the Horizon Building in Darlinghurst that had a blanket ban on the keeping of animals was oppressive. They overturned this particular by-law noting it limited the ability of an owner to use their property, without exception, on a basis that has no connection to the impact on other lot owners. This ruling set an important precedent.

From 24 August 2021, a new section will be added to the Strata Scheme Management Act. This new section, section 137B, prohibits a Strata Scheme from having a by-law that unreasonably stops the keeping of an animal on a lot. The new section goes on to deem it reasonable to keep an animal on a lot unless the keeping of that animal unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment of their lot or of the common property.

It is important to note that the owner’s corporation can still implement by-laws setting out on what terms pets can be kept on a lot. For example, the current model by-laws set out the following:

Option A

  1. An owner or occupier of a lot may keep an animal on the lot if the owner or occupier gives the owners corporation written notice that it is being kept on the lot
  2. The notice must be given not later than 14 days after the animal commences to be kept on the lot
  3. If an owner or occupier of a lot keeps an animal on the lot, the owner or occupier must—
    1. keep the animal within the lot, and
    2. supervise the animal when it is on the common property, and
    3. take any action that is necessary to clean all areas of the lot or the common property that are soiled by the animal

Option B

  1. An owner or occupier of a lot may keep an animal on the lot or the common property with the written approval of the owner’s corporation
  2. The owner’s corporation must not unreasonably withhold its approval of the keeping of an animal on a lot or the common property and must give an owner or occupier written reasons for any refusal to grant approval
  3. If an owner or occupier of a lot keeps an animal on the lot, the owner or occupier must—
    1. keep the animal within the lot, and
    2. supervise the animal when it is on the common property, and
    3. take any action that is necessary to clean all areas of the lot or the common property that are soiled by the animal
  4. An owner or occupier of a lot who keeps an assistance animal on the lot must, if required to do so by the owner’s corporation, provide evidence to the owner’s corporation demonstrating that the animal is an assistance animal as referred to in section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 of the Commonwealth

The model by-laws are there to assist the owner’s corporation in making by-laws that suit their strata scheme. The owner’s corporation can choose to adopt the model by-laws or make changes to them.

In every instance of keeping an animal in a strata property, you must:

  • supervise your pet,
  • clean up any common property that your pet has soiled, and
  • ensure that your pet is not noisy or negatively impacting other residents.

FAQs

I am a tenant; do I still need permission from my landlord to keep a pet in my strata property?

Yes. In rented strata properties, a tenant always needs to first obtain their landlord’s permission to keep a pet. This permission may be reasonably withheld by the landlord.

As a tenant who has been given permission by my landlord to keep a pet in my strata property, can I be required to pay a deposit or more than 4 weeks rent for my rental bond?

No. Your landlord cannot require you to pay a deposit or a higher rental bond than is governed by law for the keeping of pets. The rental bond governed by law is 4 weeks rent.

The strata scheme I live in has adopted a by-law that bans the keeping of pets. What can I do?

You can:

  • raise the matter with the owner’s corporation
  • place a reconsideration of the by-law on the agenda of the next general meeting
  • call for an extraordinary general meeting to be held

By-laws can be changed by a special resolution being passed at a general meeting. A special resolution is approved if no more than 25% of the votes are against the motion.

If you are unhappy with the outcome of the general meeting, you can:


ABOUT MELINA COSTANTINO

Melina Costantino

 

Melina has over 9 years of experience as a Licensed Conveyancer, acting for client matters involving; purchase and sale of residential and commercial property, Retirement Village Contracts, Put & Call Options, Call Options, and Family Transfers. She is passionate about helping a wide range of clients across all aspects of the buying and selling process and ensuring that her clients meet all their legal obligations.


For further information please don’t hesitate to contact:

Melina Costantino
Licensed Conveyancer & JP
melina@couttslegal.com.au
1300 268 887

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This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.