Pets in Strata

Are pets allowed in strata?

Pets, together with parking and parties are one of the three Ps in strata and community living that is debated the world over.

In recent years, the acceptance of pets as part of the strata family has gathered momentum starting with a change to more favourable pet by-laws in a 2016 strata legislation reform package.

Further amendments followed the NSW Court of Appeal’s decision in 2020 to overturn an owners corporation decision on a no pet by-law (Cooper v The Owners – Strata Plan No 58068). The court ruled that a blanket ban on pets was harsh, oppressive and unconscionable .

The Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Act 2021 No 1 introduced changes to the ‘keeping of an animal’. Under s137b of the Act, a by-law, or a decision by an owners corporation has no force or effect if it unreasonably prohibits the keeping of an animal.

It is deemed reasonable to keep an animal on a lot unless it unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment of their lot or the common property.

Section 36A of the Strata Schemes Management Regulations 2016 provides circumstances in which the keeping of an animal unreasonably interferes with another occupant’s use and enjoyment of the occupant’s lot or common property. See Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Pets) Regulation 2021 for details.

These changes came into effect on 24 August 2021. Further pet-friendly changes in the wind involve changes to residential tenancy regulations to give tenants more rights to keep pets.

A surge of pet ownership

The reforms coincided with a surge in pet ownership across the wider community that was particularly evident in strata buildings as people sought out companionship during COVID lockdowns.

Since then, our strata managers have noted that generally strata committees and owners corporations have embraced the spirit of the new regulations and are allowing pets as long as defined guidelines are met.

Reasonable conditions to pet ownership

Owners corporations can still require residents to apply for approval to keep an animal on their lot and set reasonable conditions in their by-laws to manage the keeping of animals in the scheme such as using leads or carrying pets in common areas.

Few cases have been raised of non-compliance with pet by-laws beyond occasional noise complaints about barking dogs.

As your strata managing agent, we do not give legal advice. However, our strata management team can answer questions about what might be considered good practice for your scheme.

Useful links

NSW Fair Trading – Pets in Strata

Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Sustainability Infrastructure) Act 2021 No 1

Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Pets) Regulation 2021

Pets in Strata Report – s276A report on review of keeping of animals


August 2023

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