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Pets Allowed in NSW Apartments After a New Ruling Relating to By-Laws

Having pets has been a general right of all Australia's to have living in a home or house, however since the inception of strata schemes/owners corporations, there has been options for owners corporations to restrict pets or animals living in apartments.

This was dependent what had been selected in the model by-laws, or included in the by-laws drawn-up at the time of registration of the owners corporation. This ranged from allowing pets with prior approval from the owners corporation or no pets at all.

Some buildings have a pets friendly approach, while others have a no pets at all policy.

A new ruling has overturned the ability for an owners corporation to pass a by-law that prevents owners or residents from keeping a pet in their apartment.

A case began more than four years ago, when a lot owner took the building she was living in to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, over a by-law that prohibited pets from living at the building.

The original findings did rule that a blanket ban on pets in apartments was unlawful, however the verdict was overturned when the case was presented to the NCAT appeals panel.

The NSW Court of Appeal’s verdict was that banning pets in apartments buildings is no longer permitted.

While the new ruling may be a relief for some owners and residents that live in apartment buildings, it should be reminded that owners and residents must ensure that not only do the owners/resident comply with the by-laws, but also the pets that are under the owners guardianship.

This may relate to such matters as noise, damage to common property, defacing common property and so on.

Should an owner or residents’ pet be breaching the by-laws, the owner of the pet is responsible, and one of two things may happen. The pet could be ordered to be removed from the building, or the owner of the pet may be fined by NCAT for continued breaches of the owners corporations by-laws.

Any requests for pets we would always recommend that a Pet Application form is completed and provide to our office so we have a record of the pet’s details which are recorded against the lot.

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