30 September 2020

Big changes to rules surrounding keeping of pets in apartments

| Karyn Starmer
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Pet friendly rules

Pet-friendly rules can be passed by the owners corporation to cover all residents. Photo: Vanessa Burdett.

Changes to ACT strata laws will make it easier for residents to keep pets in strata buildings. The changes under the Unit Titles Amendments ACT 2020, set to take effect from 1 November, will permit owners corporations to pass ‘pet-friendly rules’ around conditions for pet ownership and provide greater ability for people to keep pets in their apartments and townhouses.

Vantage Strata managing director Chris Miller says the new rules recognise the benefits of living with pets and encourage a more liberal approach to pet ownership in strata buildings.

“Up until 1 November 2020, if you wanted to keep a pet in a unit you would have to notify the owners corporation and get their permission even though they were not able to unreasonably say no,” Chris said.

“With these changes, an owners corporation can make ‘pet-friendly rules’ that allow an owner or occupier to keep an animal within a unit or the common property without the individual consent of the owners corporation.

“This is an important step along the journey of people’s right to have a pet in their home,” Chris said.

Chris Miller

Vantage Strata managing director Chris Miller says the new rules encourage a more liberal approach to pet ownership Photo: Region Media.

Pet-friendly rules can cover the number and type of animals that may be kept by a unit owner or occupier, cleaning and maintenance requirements, supervision requirements when an animal is on the common property, requirements in relation to keeping an animal secure, as well as providing written notice to the owners corporation about the keeping of an animal.

“The current rules place the obligation on the owners corporation to deal with each tenant individually. The new rules mean once an owners corporation passes pet-friendly rules, every tenant is given the same set of rules to follow without the cumbersome process that was previously in place,” Chris explained.

Occupiers are all obliged to comply with the pet-friendly rules of the owners corporation and if the property is rented out, the lessor must provide the occupier with a copy of the rules before the commencement of the tenancy agreement.

If the rules of the owners corporation do not include a pet-friendly rule, a unit owner must obtain the consent of the owners corporation to keep an animal. The owners corporation may give consent with or without conditions. But, an owners corporation cannot amend its rules to prohibit a unit owner or occupier from keeping an animal within the unit or the common property in any circumstances. If the owners corporation refuses a request to keep an animal, it must give a written reasons for the refusal and only withhold consent on reasonable grounds.

For more information contact Vantage Strata.

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