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AWL NSW celebrates the end of blanket bans on pets in strata

Millions of pet owners across Australia have breathed easy ever since the landmark ruling, handed down by the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court in October 2020, adjudging a Sydney strata scheme’s blanket ‘no pets’ by-law as ‘harsh, unconscionable, and oppressive’ under Section 139(1) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.

Now, the NSW Government’s new laws will put an end to blanket bans on animals in strata. Under these laws, keeping an animal in a strata scheme can’t be prohibited unless the animal unreasonably interferes with another resident’s use and enjoyment of their lot or the common property. These changes follow a detailed review of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (the Act) and extensive public consultation. Animal Welfare League NSW was supportive of the NSW Government’s decision to include an additional survey around pets in strata and encouraged stakeholders, supporters, and members of the community to register and have their say about strata laws and their companion animals.

Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, with 61 percent of households including a pet in their family. AWL NSW champions the positive impact that pets have on the lives of people and in our community. Companion animals have consistently proven to be of crucial importance to the physical, mental and social well-being of their owners. Their vital contribution to health benefits, especially in regard to older, isolated, and vulnerable demographics in society is widely documented.

 

Under the new laws, an owners corporation:

  • can only refuse to allow an animal into the scheme if that animal unreasonably interferes with another resident’s use and enjoyment of their lot or the common property
  • may still require residents to apply for approval from the owners corporation to keep an animal on their lot
  • may still set reasonable conditions in their by-laws to manage the keeping of animals in the scheme. Strata by-laws that set a blanket ban on the keeping of any animals within a scheme are not valid.

The laws also include a list of circumstances where an animal causes an unreasonable interference to residents in a scheme. The owners corporation can take steps to prohibit an animal that is being kept in the scheme if the animal causes a nuisance, hazard or unreasonable interference.

For more information on these laws, you can visit the Fair Trading website.

The new laws are available on the NSW Legislation website:

  • section 137B of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015
  • clause 36A of the Strata Schemes Management Regulation 2016.

 

More informationSujata Chakrabarti, P: (02) 8899 3333 E: media@awlnsw.com.au

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