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Pets in Strata – Can they Co-exist?

Here at ClickLaw Australia, we act on many conveyancing purchases in NSW where our clients are purchasing a property in a Strata Scheme. My last blog addressed the issue of whether tenants in residential tenancies in NSW had a right to have their pets come live with them. In this issue, I would like to address two of the most common questions (well really just one question phrased in a different manner) we receive from both our pet enthusiast clients and our pet resistant clients (Disclaimer – we act for both):

  • In the blue corner we have our Cat and Dog lovers – Can we take Fido and/or Whiskas with us when we move into our new apartment?
  • In the red corner we have our pet skeptics – Can we stop our neighbour from bringing their cute little kitty or their playful little puppy into the building?

The answer to the somewhat ideological questions posed above is predominantly (but not totally) dictated by the terms of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 which governs the rules associated with By-Laws relating to Strata Schemes. The Lawyers here at ClickLaw Australia suggest as a start:

  • If the By-laws permit, and you would like to bring your pet when you move in, obtain written approval from the Owners Corporation allowing you to keep your pet on the lot or common property. You can get approval by submitting a request letter to the Owners Corporation discussing details and the eligibility of your animal (e.g. kind, size, age, appearance, health, behavior, temperament, training, if the pet has been previously kept in a strata scheme, etc);
  • Check the most recent By-laws registered on the title to the strata scheme as provided by the Owners Corporation. The By-Laws generally dictate whether the property or strata scheme allows animals or not;
  • In a throwback to our previous blog, if you will be leasing a property in a Strata Scheme, aside from obtaining the written approval of the Owners Corporation, you also need to make sure that your lease agreement stipulates and consents to animals staying in the property. Remember that even if the By-laws permit the keeping of animals in the strata scheme, such approval can be useless if the landlord disagrees.

Make sure that you comply with the Owners Corporation’s rules on keeping pets as per the By-laws in order to avoid any problems. In case of dispute, mediation, adjudication and an appeal to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal are potential available modes of resolution.

As part of the conveyancing process (and even before the conveyancing process starts – ask the agent), it really is imperative that you take into consideration the position that the Strata Scheme takes on pets and a residents ability to keep pets. Make sure you consider the issue early in the conveyancing process if you are buying a property in NSW as you don’t want to waste time if your decision to purchase would turn on such a matter.

As always, if you have any queries in respect of the content of our blog, please don’t hesitate to contact one of the expert lawyers here at ClickLaw Australia to discuss.

John Kettle
Solicitor Director
ClickLaw Australia