Strata laws impacting pet owners (NSW)

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. NSW NSW strata communities are governed by the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996. The Act includes a model by-law regarding the keeping of animals as follows: Schedule 1 – By-laws "16 Keeping of animals (1) Subject to section 49 (4), an owner or occupier of a lot must not, without the approval in writing of the owners corporation, keep any animal on the lot or the common property. (2) The owners corporation must not unreasonably withhold its approval of the keeping of an animal on a lot or the common property." This model by-law means that a resident must have permission in writing from their owners corporation to keep an animal, and the owners corporation can’t unreasonably refuse permission. An owners corporation can choose to adopt this model by-law or they can create their own by-law. This means that in NSW by-laws can vary widely – from accepting pets without the need for approval through to not permitting pets at all. If your by-law allows for pets with the approval of the owners corporation, then you should make a written request to the owners corporation and include any information to support your request, such as a description of the pet and a description of how the pet will be responsibly managed. NSW strata by-laws are subject to section 49(4) of the Strata Titles Act which states that by-laws cannot prohibit or prevent the keeping or use of a guide or hearing dog on a lot or common property. Contact: NSW Office of Fair Trading - Tel 13 32 20 (www.fairtradingnsw.gov.au) - see under ‘Tenants and Home Owners’/Strata Schemes/Frequently Asked Questions/I Want to get a Dog, do I need the Owners Corporation’s Permission? 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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