Question: I’m a tenant with a cat. The Owners Corporation has a bylaw requesting a $500 Pet Bond to be paid to strata. I thought pet bonds weren’t legal in NSW.
Answer: As a Tenant, you must comply with both your lease and the strata by-laws.
Pet bonds are not illegal and the strata legislation is silent on the matter.
Usually, the pet-owner would provide the bond to the owners corporation as security in case of damage to or soiling of the common property.
You may wish to try to negotiate the amount of the bond, however, even though the cat does not leave the confines of your apartment, if, for example, you have floorboards within the apartment the cat might scratch those or cause other damage to common property within your apartment or cause smells or accidents which might seep into the apartment below.
You are correct regarding residential tenancies and pet bonds in NSW. On their tenancy information pages, NSW Fair Trading states: Higher bonds cannot be charged for tenants with pets, children or for any other reason. It would be unfair that a Landlord could charge an additional bond over and above the 4 weeks (standard) bond already held by the Landlord.
As a Tenant, you must comply with both your lease and the strata by-laws.
So, although paying your Landlord a pet-bond is unlawful, you will still need to comply with strata requirements eg whether or not pets are permitted, pet application fee, pet bond (possibly), rules and regulations about the keeping of the pet and whether or not it may be on the common property etc.
Please note that this article is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.