Despite the highly anticipated “pet-friendly” amendments to the new strata legislation, animals are still not automatically permitted in strata schemes unless they are assistance animal as referred to in section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 of the Commonwealth.
So, you have a statutory right to keep an assistance animal within strata. However, if your animal is not an assistance animal, the only way to determine the pets position for your building, is to check all the by-laws applicable to your scheme.
If there is a pet by-law it might specify which animals are and aren’t permitted to be kept at the property, and, if they are, there might be restrictions on how big, how heavy, how many animals may be kept and restrict the types of breeds. For example, there are many strata plans that permit the keeping of dogs but not “dangerous” or “menacing” dogs as referred to in the Companion Animals Act, 1998 (NSW).
Some strata plans regulate dogs by weight for example not heavier than 10-12 kgs. Other strata plans permit only small-medium sized dogs but not large dogs. Some permit cats only but no dogs whatsoever (except assistance animals).
It is a common requirement that pets be carried over the common property to avoid staining on the common property, increased wear and tear on the common property e.g. carpet (if applicable), increase the control over the particular animal.
Local councils have broad powers, for example, to declare a dog “dangerous” or a “nuisance” dog. So, in addition to the pets position regarding the keeping of a dog and the terms and conditions of such approval, for example, if council declares your dog to be “dangerous” you might need to muzzle your dog at all times when not within your lot. You should refer to your local council’s website to view applicable laws relating to keeping your animals.
Irrespective of whether you are permitted to keep your animal by strata, you must still adhere not only to the pets by-law but also to all the other by-laws applicable to the scheme. For example, you must not cause nuisance (e.g. unreasonable barking) to anyone or interfere unreasonably with another resident’s peaceful enjoyment (e.g. cause malodours emanating from lot or common property), the animal must not soil the common property or damage any gardens, shed on the common property etc.
And, remember, all of the above by-law restrictions which may be imposed by your strata are subject to the test that no by-law may be “harsh, oppressive, unconscionable or unreasonable”. For example, it may be considered harsh to have to carry a 120kg St Bernard over the common property.
Feel free to contact us with any questions specific to your property.
Please note that this article is provided for general and personal information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal advice.