In late 2020, after a 5-year battle Jo Cooper succeeded in her case in the NSW Court of Appeal, overturning the ability for Strata to maintain by-laws which provide blanket bans on pets, as a result of being “harsh, unconscionable, or oppressive”. The effect of this decision does however have a varied effect, with council regulations, animal rights, and other key factors beyond blanket Strata bans on all manner of pets. Following this case, on 24 February 2021, the Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Act 2021 was passed, providing clear direction in the use of by-laws to regulate the keeping of animals.
Under the Act, by-laws and decisions by owners corporations under by-laws, do not have force if they unreasonably prohibit the keeping of an animal on a lot in strata. Under the bill, it is reasonable to keep an animal unless their keeping unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment of their lot, or of common property. Should the owners corporation either make an unreasonable decision under a by-law, or fail to make a decision within a reasonable time under a by-law, they are taken to have given permission for the keeping of the animal.
For those managing Strat Schemes, Fair Trading NSW provides guidance in their model by-laws, suggesting that either (a) owners be allowed to keep a pet after providing 14 days’ notice from when it started living on the property or, (b) allowing the keeping of a pet once written permission has been given by the owner’s corporation, which is both reasonably determined, and where refused, reasons are given.
In all circumstances, reasonableness will likely still require that pets supervised, owners clean soiled common property, and owners ensure their pet is not noisy, or negatively impacting other residents.
Additionally, there is nothing in these amendments which restrict a landlord’s rights to refuse a tenant permission to keep a pet on their property, and should permission be granted, they do not waive their rights, or disavow a tenant of their responsibility in the maintenance of the property.
Do you need assistance or advice regarding a matter of Strata? Contact Longton Legal for an initial consultation with one of our experienced solicitors.
*Disclaimer：This is intended as general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. The above information is subject to changes over time. You should always seek professional advice before taking any course of action.*
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