Question: There are a number of very vocal apartment owners in my building who are against animals of any type, including a companion animal.
Answer: If you can demonstrate your animal meets the requirements of a companion animal for the specific outlined range of disabilities, the Owners Corporation cannot prohibit the keeping of your animal.
Section 139 of the new legislation clearly states that no by-law may prevent the keeping of an “assistance” animal.
(5) By-law cannot prevent keeping of assistance animal A by-law has no force or effect to the extent to which it purports to prohibit or restrict the keeping on a lot of an assistance animal (as referred to in section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 of the Commonwealth) used by an owner or occupier of the lot as an assistance animal or the use of an assistance animal for that purpose by a person on a lot or common property.
Note that the alleged assistance animal must comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.
If you can demonstrate your animal meets those requirements and you qualify for the specific outlined range of disabilities, the Owners Corporation cannot prohibit the keeping of your animal.
Provided you and your animal qualify, you may take your complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Please note that this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.