A common misconception amongst strata communities is the notion that a pet-friendly development equals a municipal dangerously overrun with dogs and cats. Perhaps this is the reason why it has become an automatic response to say no to pets in Australia.
The benefits of having a furry-little-companion are huge and with over half of the Australian population owning a pet, it’s very important for strata communities to recognise this need.
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 an invitee to bring or keep an animal on the lot or the common property.
2) The occupier must obtain the body corporate’s written approval before bringing, or permitting an invitee to bring, an animal onto the lot or the common property.
This standard by-law means that a resident must have written approval from the body corporate before they can bring an animal onto the property. The body corporate are entitled to impose conditions on the keeping of pets, which means that the type, breed and nature of an animal are all relevant factors in determining whether a pet should be approved.
Although allowing pets can be a sensitive issue to some, there are many positive points to consider in determining whether a building is deemed ‘pet-friendly’. For example, a Queensland survey of pet friendly developments found that such policies can increase property values with people willing to pay 5-10% more for a property in which they could house an animal. Furthermore, agents reported 50% more buyer interest in such developments.
Permitting some residents to keep pets doesn’t mean allowing every single resident to keep one. Approval should only be given to owners who can demonstrate themselves to be fully responsible. Policies can be introduced to determine how people will keep their pets, whilst ensuring no nuisance or disruption is caused for other residents.
The body corporate managers of an upmarket apartment complex on the Queensland Sunshine Coast chose to include a pets permitted clause and it has proven to be a huge success. “ We’ve been up and running for approximately 18 months and have a few good quality tenants who have small pets, when people find out this is a pet-friendly complex they are delighted!”
Whether you’re a pet-lover or a pet-hater, there’s no doubt that in Australia, where the country boasts such high levels of pet ownership, the issue undeniably isn’t simply black or white.
For more information about pets in strata property or to ask a question, go to www.livinginstrata.com.au.