Owners of pets, or people who want to own pets in their
apartments, are fighting back in growing numbers against
restrictive strata laws which forbid them having a much loved furry
friend in their home.
In NSW and Queensland, residents living in a block of apartments
governed by strata title need body corporate permission to keep
pets in their home. Laws governing pets vary from one strata
development to another; some by-laws don't allow pets at all,
some impose size limits on dogs or insist cats have to be locked
inside at all times, others just impose reasonable rules on
cleaning up after your pet.
Every strata development sets its own rules regarding pets. The
model by-law commonly used in NSW says residents must have
permission from the owners corporation (also known as the body
corporate) to keep a cat or dog, and that the owners corporation
mustn't unreasonably refuse permission. But some owners
corporations do impose blanket bans.
There is no doubt pets are very important for our wellbeing.
Medical research shows having a pet is beneficial for both physical
and mental health. Whether they are dogs, cats, birds, fish or
lizards, they become very much part of our family, keep us active,
give us something to care for beyond ourselves and make us more
More than half of Australian households have a pet of some sort.
An increasing number of people keep pets in apartments, and an
increasing number of Australians – now one in ten
– live in strata titles.
That's why an apartment up for sale might be advertised as
"pet friendly". It adds about 10 per cent to the value.
Regardless of what the agent or landlord might say, if you have a
pet or want one it's important to check the by-laws to make
sure pets are allowed.
Remember – by-laws aren't necessarily set by a
majority of all owners – but a majority of those who turn
up - so long as there is a quorum. This is usually 25 per cent of
owners, so just 17 per cent can set the rules.
In one case a group of dog haters organised the numbers to ban
dogs in a seaside apartment block. One family found they
couldn't keep their beloved pooch and fought back. With legal
advice they got it overturned on the point of law that the ban was
Strata disputes go to mediation, adjudication and you can appeal
to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal. It's wise to go
with legal advice on how to best present your case.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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