On Wednesday this week, it became much easier for residents in NSW strata buildings to keep pets in their homes. In this episode, I unpack the new legislation, including its impact on existing by-laws that restrict the keeping of animals.

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6 Responses

  1. I think there may be issues with stratas requiring dogs to be carried across common property, as it would be fairly unreasonable for someone to carry say, a Labrador down a common stairwell or across a lobby…effectively limiting the size of dog allowed…or limiting dog ownership to strong/able bodied people…

  2. We have a by-law that not only demands we carry dogs on common property but restricts the number of animals to 1 per unit. If a prospective resident wanted to bring 2 small dogs from the same litter who had never been separated from birth, could that by-law be challenged? Dobbie

    1. Hi Dobbie, yes it could. As I explain on the podcast, under this new law a by-law that attempts to regulate pets on the basis of ‘the number of pets’ is – in my view – unreasonable and therefore invalid.

  3. Hi Amanda,
    When reading Section 36A, it appears that the spirit is based on the adverse behaviours of an animal and the owner’s obligations to control such behaviours so that they do not impact on property or occupants. I’m concerned with your comment that a pet by-law cannot stipulate the number of pets or weights of pets in a building (16.18 mark – restricting the number of animals). The number of pets is not mentioned in that Section.
    Surely, the OC is within its rights to allow a set number of pets in each apartment (eg one cat or one dog or one bird etc.) If pet numbers are not capped, we may be faced with an extraordinary number of animals in a building. We are a 14 unit strata with small two bedroom lots. It is unreasonable to allow, say two dogs to live in small spaces in each lot. Could you please comment.

    1. Hi Lorrie, I agree with your characterisation of 36A, but that is precisely the reason why regulating the number of pets, or the weight of a pet, is unreasonable: those are not characteristics going to behaviour and the impact that behaviour may have on another occupant’s use or enjoyment of their lot or the common property.

      It is quite possible that in a particular building, 2 or 3 cats (for example) could reside in one lot with absolutely no impact on anyone else. Indeed, if the building were large enough and the cats kept indoors, they may never be seen by anyone else.

      On the other hand, if those cats were roaming the common property, then regulation 36A(d), (e), (f) or (g) comes in to play.

      So, a reasonable by-law will recite those parts of the Regulation and make clear that an owner causing any one of those circumstances may not (or may no longer) keep an animal.

      A by-law that simply says “no more than 1 cat” does not engage with these particular circumstances at all. That is why it will be considered unreasonable and invalid: it punishes all of those thoughtful pet owners who understand the need to control their pet for the benefit of their neighbours.

      Another way to put it: our by-laws should be regulating the outcome of the animal, not the existence of the animal.

      Amanda.

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