Can I keep my pet in my strata scheme?

We love our pets! For us Australians, pets are an indispensable part of the family. This is why when choosing a place to live, we often consider whether pets are allowed or not.

When it comes to strata schemes, there are specific regulations and laws we should know.

Each strata scheme will have their own by-laws regarding this subject, so we recommend checking with them first about what exactly is allowed.

However, we will also cover some aspects that even a body corporate entity cannot inhibit.

We will just say here and now, that any law discussed or enforced in a strata scheme does not apply to registered service animals.

Obviously, these are needed and play an important role, so no one can be denied their service animal. If issues arise, then tribunal courts can get involved to resolve problems.

Pets in strata

First of all, it is important to know that there used to be three model by-laws regarding pets. When registering, the default law was to ban all pets.

The other two options were to allow pets with permission or allow small pets even without permission.

According to NSW Fair Trading, there is now no model by-law banning pets. Instead, they are allowed if owners corporations are notified or if the lot user has written approval.

This is a new law introduced which will greatly impact strata schemes.

If you are renting, then you still need to seek permission from the landlord. Overall though, this is a huge change in the strata laws we have become accustomed to.

There are many factors to consider about pets – whether you are a pet owner, strata owner or someone living or using a strata property. Owning a pet may be allowed, but noisy or messy animals could lead to breaches in other by-laws.

Although laws have been relaxed, it is still important to approach the situation officially. You don’t want to run the risk of having your pet removed or create complications with your body corporate members.

It is best to always go through the official channels when discussing pets and strata. Because these new laws are quite fresh, there are some wrinkles that may still need to be ironed out.

For example, issues could arise over what constitutes a ‘reasonable pet’ and whether someone has their pet ‘unreasonably refused’.

There is room for subjection which could create some problems in the future.

But if you are honest and transparent with your strata manager and landlords, then surely, reasonable conditions and circumstances can be met.

How do I obtain consent for my pet?

Applying for consent

This often depends on your specific strata scheme, but in most cases, you can write to your strata management service provider or to the body corporate.

Applications may require photos, vet history and/or details about the animal.

What can I do if my consent application was refused?

If your application was refused and you believe it was unfair, you can apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for a review of the owners corporation. This will require reasons as to why you think it was unfair or unreasonable.

Do I really need consent?

Yes. Keeping an animal in a strata scheme without permission or notice can result in a breach of by-laws and ultimately, removal of the animal.

Responsibilities of pet owners

Responsibilities of strata pet owners

You may have some specific requirements when keeping your pet in a strata. For example, you should clean up any mess or poop. Your pet should not roam unsupervised or perhaps they will not be allowed in common areas.

Again, these guidelines can be discussed and compromised with your strata scheme operators.

Owning a pet is a very important way of life for many of us. Understanding the laws and regulations surrounding your strata is crucial for the happiness of everyone involved.

If you are a pet owner or a strata owner and would like to know more about pets and strata, then contact our friendly team at 1300 033 947. We provide the most comprehensive and best-priced strata management services in Sydney.