The New South Wales Court of Appeal decision, which essentially invalidated blanket pet bans was well publicized but what does it mean for you, your building, and any potential furry friends wanting to move into buildings that currently ban pet?
The Court of Appeal decision invalidates blanket bans, but does not prevent an Owners Corporation from determining the reasonableness of applications for pets. We saw this upheld in a recent NCAT decision where it was found that a by-law which prohibited dogs was not ‘harsh, oppressive or unconscionable’, as other, more ‘suitable’ pets were permitted.
So what next?
We’d recommend that all owners corporations look to move to an ‘on application’ system of approval for pets. That way, the strata committee can make reasonable assessments of the suitability of a pet to your community. The key in any assessment is the word ‘reasonable’. You’ll need a new by-law that sets out the application procedure and details expectations in relation to management of the pets, such as how they will move through the common property, and what happens if they cause damage.