When finding the right home, you want to make sure the entire family can move in, this, of course, includes four-legged and other animal members. In late 2020, the NSW Court of Appeal handed down a decision that was a win for the pets.
Stata by-laws can currently include a blanket ban on pets for buildings under a strata scheme (i.e., apartments, townhouses).
In Cooper v The Owners Strata Plan No. 58068, two property owners fought in a four and a half year-long litigation to keep their miniature schnauzer in their apartment building. The New South Wales (NSW) Court of Appeal ruled that the by-laws were oppressive by nature, unconscionable and cannot stand.
This latest decision can now be used as a binding precedent throughout NSW for other owners who have their pets blocked by by-laws.
What does this mean for owner-occupiers?
This NSW Court of Appeal decision has now made it extremely hard for by-laws to justify having a blanket ban on all pets. Whilst assistance animals cannot be excluded from strata premises, domestic pets will now likely be allowed in NSW.
What does this mean for landlords?
Regardless of the new decision for by-laws, landlords cannot ban assistance animals. However, they will have the authority to prohibit pets in their investment property for tenants.
What does this mean for tenants?
Renters have long faced issues with keeping pets in rental properties. However, the sentiment is changing with the majority (approximately 61%) of Australians owning a pet.
Even if the by-laws of an apartment building allow pets, landlords will still have the authority to nominate if their property prohibits or allows pets. Therefore, renters should find a pet-friendly property.
Noting again that assistance animals cannot be banned.
What should I do if my property has a strata ban on pets?
This NSW Court of Appeal decision can now be used as a binding precedent in all of New South Wales.
It is recommended that the owner’s corporations review the by-laws of their premises in line with this decision. If the owner’s corporation disagrees or is unsure whether a by-law is oppressive, they can apply to the Tribunal for a determination.
For advice on your specific situation contact the team at Donovan Oates Hannaford.