Strata experts discourage absolute pet bans

Queensland pet owners could soon see new housing and accommodation opportunities through the state thanks to successful court actions by pet owners.

As the debate on pets in apartment blocks and strata communities continues, strata experts are advising body corporate committees to evaluate pet applications individually, rather than making hasty decisions or enforcing absolute pet bans. More and more tenants of apartment blocks are taking body corporate committees to court, in response to being told to get rid of their pets or face eviction themselves.

And many of these court cases are being found in the pet owner’s favour – provided the pets are not causing a significant inconvenience to other tenants.

Strata Community Australia (Qld), Queensland’s peak body for the strata title and body corporate sector, recognises pets as an ongoing and complex issue in the industry and is urging bodies corporate to consider all aspects of a pet application before making a decision.
I believe enforcing an absolute pet ban is not the answer. With a sensitive issue such as pets, it’s important for bodies corporate to consider cases individually. For some people, these pets are like their children. So to force someone to give them up just seems unreasonable.

The other side of the coin however, is when a tenant’s pet is being a nuisance, or worse, dangerous, towards other tenants in a building.

Essentially, it comes down to all cases being handled and examined individually.

I believe body corporate committees need to ensure they are making informed decisions regarding pet applications.SCA always advises bodies corporate to seek advice from professional body corporate managers, who are more specifically trained to provide guidance based on a number of factors, including the specific by-laws for a strata title scheme and the type of pet being applied for. At the end of the day, tenants need to be considerate of each other and if they do want to have pets, they need to ensure the pets are not causing a nuisance or inconvenience to other tenants.

SCA believes turning away from blanket policies is definitely a positive move. Our members have had tenants face incredibly difficult decisions in the past, as a result of pet restrictions in buildings. One tenant considered cutting the tail off their dog, to ensure it came under the building’s designated pet weight limit. And another elderly couple was forced to put down their dog, when they moved into a strata community that didn’t allow pets. These are just two examples that illustrate why it is important for body corporate committees to consider cases individually.

In Queensland, residents in strata communities and apartment buildings need permission from the body corporate to keep pets in their homes. The laws surrounding pets in apartment buildings and strata communities differ between states in Australia, with tenants usually needing pet approval from either body corporate or unit owners.

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