What pets are allowed in home units?

The strata laws have been amended to provide much needed clarity on an owners corporation’s right to ban pets. Now, there are limits on the power to ban pets.

Currently, there are multiple home unit developments with the by-laws imposing a blanket ban on keeping pets, even a goldfish! There are multiple disputes in home unit developments about pets, usually cats and dogs.

On 25 August 2021, the NSW Government amended the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 by inserting section 137B, which invalidates any by-law that unreasonably prohibits the keeping of an animal in a unit.

Under the new law, it is reasonable to keep an animal in a unit unless it “unreasonably interferes” with another occupant's use and enjoyment of his or her lot or the common property. Rather than leave it for the lawyers to battle it out in the Tribunal to determine what is meant by “unreasonably interferes”, the NSW Government has inserted regulation 36A into the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016. This sets out examples of when keeping of an animal unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment, including where:

  1. the animal persistently makes a noise that unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of another occupant
  1. the animal repeatedly runs at or chases another occupant, their visitor or their animal
  1. the animal attacks or otherwise menaces another occupant, their visitor their animal
  1. the animal repeatedly damages the common property or another lot
  1. the animal endangers the health of another occupant through infection or infestation
  1. the animal causes a persistent offensive odour that penetrates another lot or the common property.

In other words, if your dog is fairly healthy, does not bark all day, does not run at or bite your neighbours, does not damage the common areas, and you wash it regularly, it will not “unreasonably interfere” with another resident’s occupation. In that case,  the Owners Corporation cannot prohibit you from keeping it in your unit. As you can see, the NSW Government has made reasonably tolerant laws for pet owners. Your goldfish and budgerigar are safe.

For further information please contact Jackson O'Keeffe or contact us on (02) 9923 2321 or enquiries@somervillelegal.com.au.


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