From 25 August, the NSW Government’s new laws to put an end to blanket bans on pets in strata come into effect, providing clarity for residents and owners corporations on how they can manage the keeping of animals in strata buildings.
The changes follow a detailed review of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (the Act) and extensive public consultation, focusing on the keeping of animals in strata schemes.
Member for Wakehurst, Brad Hazzard said the new laws reflect broad community sentiment from the review, and demonstrate a balanced approach for both Wakehurst residents and owners corporations in keeping furry friends in strata.
“A lot has changed since the Act commenced in 2015, including a shift to apartment living as more and more people in Wakehurst are choosing to buy and rent in apartments instead of houses,” Mr Hazzard said.
“On top of that, research tells us that Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, with 61 per cent of households including a pet in their family, and 91 per cent of households owning a pet at some point in their lives.
“Following extensive feedback from the community we have implemented fair and sensible regulations that prevents schemes from introducing blanket bans on keeping pets in apartments, while ensuring owners corporations can refuse pets where they unreasonably impact other residents.”
From 25 August 2021, the new regulations will prescribe a limited list of specific grounds where an owners corporation can refuse a lot owner from keeping an animal in a strata scheme or take steps to remove an existing animal from the scheme. These circumstances include repeated damage of the common property, menacing behavior, persistent noise and odour.
Minister Anderson said that owners corporations will also be able to set reasonable conditions through their own by-laws on how pets are kept in their scheme, for example whether they have to be supervised on common property or enter and exit through a dedicated entrance or lift.
“As a dog owner myself I understand how important pets are for families in this state, and their companionship cannot be understated, particularly during the current pandemic,” Mr Anderson said
“Living in strata is becoming more popular and while we don’t want strata residents deprived of the benefits of owning a pet it’s also important the amenity of neighbours and others in the building isn’t impacted. Our new laws have been designed to strike the right balance for everyone living in strata communities, putting an end to blanket bans on pets while giving owners corporations clear guidance on how they can set rules to ensure other owners aren’t impacted.”
NSW Fair Trading will be offering support, advice and mediation services for residents and owners corporations who are unsure about the new rules and how they apply within their scheme. Unresolved disputes can also be escalated to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal where appropriate.
For more information around the new laws, visit: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/housing-and-property/strata-and-community-living/strata-schemes/by-laws-in-your-strata-scheme