Pets in Strata


Due to the very nature of strata living, it will very rarely be the case that ‘one shoe fits all’. Where pets are concerned, this couldn’t be more true.

In Queensland, The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 provides a by-law regarding the keeping of animals as follows:

1)      The occupier of a lot must not, without the body corporate’s written approval –

a)      Bring or keep an animal on the lot or common property; or

b)      Permit and invitee to bring or keep and animal on the lot or common property.

There has been a growing concern that owners who choose not to live with animals are being challenged and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal is being left with the decision of determining whether there are grounds for or against a pet related by-law being upheld. The following case study has been chosen to share, in the aim of helping others who might find themselves in similar circumstances.

A strata community had an existing by-law stating it was NOT a pet friendly building and for ten years it remained that way with some owners, prior to settlement, left giving away their pets in order to comply. One day, one of the lot owner’s came home with a dog and claimed they were unaware approval was needed to keep the pet. After applying to the body corporate and having their claim rejected, the lot owner appealed and the case was heard before the Queensland Body Corporate Commissioner. The appeal was rejected after considering more than 35 submissions against the lot owner keeping their dog.

This process not only cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, but caused stress, anxiety and bad feelings around the once harmonious community.

The issues relating to pets in strata are extremely complex, and many different aspects are taken into consideration when decisions are being made. It is becoming increasingly difficult to enforce pet related by-laws and it is often the case that they are being judged on a case-by-case basis.

In this case, although there was an existing by-law stating no pets were allowed, and although bringing a pet into the building was a breach, the onus was on the owners to make a case against the pet owner. They had to prove why the dog was not suitable and show grounds by providing evidence. In this case the by –law was upheld.

To avoid situations like this, it is highly recommended that in such circumstances prospective purchasers do their homework prior to entering into community titled schemes. Namely, be aware of existing by-laws! To tackle problems, such as this one, a strong, pro-active body corporate is very helpful in conveying the needs of the majority.

At the end of the day by-laws can’t apply to some and not others – although where strata living is concerned the legislation is increasingly being interpreted to this effect.



Related post

Who’s Responsible For Pest Control in a Body Corporate
Who’s Responsible For Pest Control In An Owners Corporation
Running A Business in a Body Corporate

Recent Comments

6 Comments

suzanne On October 2, 2012 | Reply

thanks for the articles on pet laws. about 2 years ago i heard there was queensland legislation introduced for small pets up to a certain size (?) to be allowed into “body corporate” properties, which therefore overrode the rules; but i can’t find the rule anywhere and would love to have a copy of it.
also, how do i stay in touch with your website for this informative discussions?
i was just talking also to a friend of mine who owns a 2×3 bedroom duplex and he has been advised to set up a body corporate scheme for the two units? do you know if this is correct or is someone just having a lend of him? i have tried to googlesearch this topic but not having much luck. thank you.

    Chelsey On October 3, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Suzanne,

    There are many bodies corporate that have a 10kg limit on pets however size restrictions are not enforceable. If the Council has allowed for it, then that’s what over-rides. I’m not sure of the ‘rule’ you are referring to however by-laws are always used to dictate the behaviour of a body corporate.

    In response to your second question, it is not uncommon for two units to be strata titled. If you have any more specific questions you can have them answered on the Living in Strata forum by going to the following link:
    http://www.livinginstrata.com.au/forum

    I have also added your email address to our news feed, so you will receive our news updates.

    Please let me know if there is anything else i can help you with! Chelsey.

Chelsey On October 3, 2012 | Reply

Hi Joan,
Have you been in contact with your Body Corporate Manager? The best thing to do is approach them first and they can help give you the best course of action to take – they can refer to your schemes by-laws. Depending on the by-laws of your community, your neighbour may or may not be allowed to keep the cats. Please let me know if i can help you with any other questions.

Angela On March 3, 2013 | Reply

I was wondering what the rule is if the By-Laws don’t mention anything about pets?

Does The Body Corporate and Community Management Act automatically come into effect in this situation or could an owner keep a pet without seeking permission?

    Chelsey On March 5, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Angela,

    If your by-laws don’t mention anything about the keeping of pets then the Body Corporate and Community Management Act comes into effect.

    Section 268 of the Act is the relevant section of legislation and says that you cannot keep a pet without permission.

    I hope this helps!

Sherryn Morgan On December 12, 2013 | Reply

We have two cats which were approved by the body corporate a year ago with no conditions given with regard to keeping them. A year later the manager said she has complaints about one of them using one garden as a toilet. She has no written evidence of the complaint and the body corporate now want to put conditions on us. What is the ruling around this? I thought that with cats it is reasonable to think that they would act like cats. There are also multiple strays that come into the same area and the manager has no proof that it is our cat. Can you please advise

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