Navigating pets and strata
For most people their “furry friend” is a key part of their everyday lives and part of the family. If you live in an apartment or shared living space, here’s some information from our team at PICA Group to take care not to inconvenience your neighbours.
PICA Group’s tip’s on strata laws and keeping a pet:
In New South Wales
In New South Wales the keeping of animals is allowed, but also subject to conditions. The strata committee should not unreasonably withhold its approval of the keeping of an animal on a lot, unless your strata scheme chooses to adopt a pet by-law against keeping a pet.
If a scheme was registered before the 1996 legislation, and the old Schedule 2 model by-laws still apply to your scheme, and there is no special by-law which repeals or amends the standard position.
The owners corporation may adopt option A or B from the Model by-laws:Option A:
Allows pets to be kept provided that the owners corporation is notified.Option B:
Requires consent of the strata committee before a pet is allowed. Consent must not be unreasonably refused and rental tenants in strata schemes still need to seek approval from their landlord as well as the strata committee.
By-laws generally govern the keeping of pets on strata titled property. If there is no specific by-law that regulates animals at the scheme, you do not need to ask for permission to keep an animal within your lot. However, you must still consider other body corporate by-laws which may apply such as noise or interfering with the use and enjoyment of another lot or common property.
The committee may withdraw approval for an animal if there is evidence the animal is causing a nuisance to other owners or occupiers of the scheme.
In Victoria, there is no specific legislation covering keeping of pets. Model rule 3.1(4) set out in the Owners Corporations Regulations 2007 provides that an owners corporation can serve a notice to remove an animal off common property if it is causing a nuisance. The owners corporation is charged with the duty of deciding whether a pet constitutes a nuisance before deciding whether the animal should be removed.
Assistance animals and the Disability Discrimination Act
The only animals which cannot be prohibited within any strata scheme are assistance animals as referred to in Section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
If you have a disability and rely on your animal, you do not need to ask permission before bringing assisted animals into a strata property, however the strata committee may request proof that that the animal is a duly qualified assistance animal.
An assistance animal is defined as a dog or other animal which is properly accredited or trained in such a way to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability and to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.
If you’d like to find out more on managing pets in strata, download your free Community Living guide on by-laws. Or for a consultation to review your by-laws by our Kemps Petersons Legal team, click here.