Strata laws impacting pet owners (ACT)

As a strata resident, you are subject to the rules or by-laws (sometimes also known as articles or memorandums) of your strata scheme. Likewise, your strata scheme is subject to the strata laws of your state or territory government. So as a pet owner, you are impacted by both your strata community’s by-laws and your state legislation. You should never keep a pet in strata accommodation without being sure the by-laws permit pets and you have any necessary approvals. Strata By-Laws When you need information, your first step should be to get a copy of your strata by-laws from the owners corporation. Should a dispute arise you may need to contact your relevant state government department for further help or information. Please note that in accordance with various federal and state legislation strata by-laws cannot exclude or restrict guide, hearing and assistance dogs. If you are renting in a strata development and experience difficulties you may need to contact the relevant residential tenancy department as well as – or instead of – the government department that covers strata legislation. Australian Capital Territory ACT strata communities are subject to the Unit Titles Act 2001. The Act includes a by-law relating to the keeping of animals as follows: "51A Animals—owners corporation's consent (1) A unit owner may keep an animal, or allow an animal to be kept, within the unit or the common property only with the consent of the owners corporation. (2) The owners corporation may give consent under this section with or without conditions. (3) However, the owners corporation’s consent must not be unreasonably withheld. Note: An owner or occupier of a unit may apply to the ACAT to resolve a dispute with the owners corporation about keeping an animal, or allowing an animal to be kept (4) In this section: animal includes— (a) an amphibian; and (b) a bird; and (c) a fish; and (d) a mammal (other than a human being); and (e) a reptile." This standard by-law means that residents may only keep a pet with the consent of the owners corporation. The owners corporation can give its consent with or without conditions, but they must not withhold consent unreasonably. Further, an owners corporation cannot amend its articles (by-laws) to preclude any right of any unit owner to keep an animal, that is to say they must not introduce a blanket “no pets” by-law. Where a resident is in dispute with an owners corporation they can apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal to have the dispute resolved. Contact: ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal - Tel (02) 62071740 Justice and Community Safety – Tel 13 2281 (www.justice.act.gov.au) – see quick links/unit titles/fact sheet/FS6 Changed Rules about Keeping of Animals This information is provided as a guide only, it is not a substitute for legal advice. The recipient must at all times comply with local and strata title regulations and any other law. Ref: Strata Community Aust

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