Ask Premium Strata – Pets and Strata Bylaws

Pets and Strata Bylaws

My super owns an investment unit within a strata which previously had an “Option B” pets policy but has recently changed that bylaw to “No Pets”. I bought the property, obviously, as an investment property and this new bylaw severely limits my ability to rent my property.

Do I have any recourse or ability to reference any law which prevents the strata from adopting this new policy in my situation?

Answer: There is some case laws to support the proposition that pet ownership is a “basic right of habitation”. The Second Reading Speech of the 2015 Bill states:

New model by-laws will be introduced when the Regulations are made to deal with a number of issues that are important to strata residents. These include amending the by-laws relating to pets to make it easier for schemes to become more pet friendly.

Further, the new regulations amended the previous model by-law which allowed prohibition on the keeping of animals and introduced a new model by-law, either permitting pets after notification to the owners corporation or with the consent of the owners corporation. The former position is the new default position.

The Tribunal concluded that pet ownership was reflective of contemporary community standards. Other cases have deemed no animal by-laws to be harsh/oppressive and were invalidated on that basis.

Under Section 139 of the Strata Schemes Management Act, 2015 (NSW) a by-law must not be unjust ie it must not be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive. Any such by-law may be invalidated by the Tribunal (see section 150). Arguably, the complete about-face of the Owners Corporation in prohibiting pets (without an intervening incident eg dog attack, damage) is unjust.

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Please note that this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.