Faster pet approvals in body corporate schemes

Faster pet approvals

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Pet approvals have always been a contentious issue within body corporate schemes, and last year’s amendments to the BCCMA (Body Corporate and Community Management Act) further reduced the ability for buildings to set their own pet preferences.

On 24 April 2024, the Queensland Government announced more changes to the legislation regarding pets. Taking effect from 1 May 2024 these will impact nearly all* body corporate communities in Queensland.

This article touches on those changes, how they compare to the previous legislation, and what it means for body corporate committees.

For more on changes to the BCCMA read our article Pet Owners Win Under New Body Corporate Laws

Further changes to the legislation regarding pets

1. Speed of decision

Committees and bodies corporate are now required to consider pets much faster than before.

Under the previous legislation, all applications to the committee had to be considered:

  • as soon as reasonably practical, AND
  • within 6 weeks after the application is made.

Once a committee voting paper is issued, there is another 21-day period in which committee members must vote.

These time limits meant owners could wait up to 9 weeks for a formal decision on their application from the body corporate committee.

Under the new law, applications to keep a pet are given a special high-priority status and must be decided on within 21 days after the application is made.

All other application timeframes remain the same. This change only relates to applications for pet approvals.

2. A default ‘approved’ outcome if the committee does not decide within 21 days of the application.

Under the previous law, if the committee failed to consider the application within the 6-week timeframe, or if the committee did not reach a majority outcome within 21 days of issuing a committee vote, the application was deemed to have been denied.

Under the new law, if the committee fails to give a decision about a pet application after 21 days, the pet application is deemed to have been approved.

The impact of these changes on body corporate committees

For the committee of a small body corporate (up to around 20 lots), pet applications are relatively infrequent, and the committee would usually consider these immediately upon receipt. For larger buildings, however, more residents mean more frequent pet applications, and committees would often hold and batch applications, issuing one voting paper every 4-6 weeks to manage several applications.

Under the new laws, larger buildings will be required to hold formal committee votes much more frequently (up to 3x as often) to avoid any applications timing out after 21 days.

Even for buildings with standing monthly meetings, this won’t be frequent enough to comply with the new 21-day time limit on pet applications.

Updating by-laws to reduce red tape on pet applications

Prompted by the push towards more pet-friendly buildings, many body corporate communities are now changing their pet by-laws for a more streamlined approach.

Instead of requiring voting approval for each pet, building by-laws are becoming pet-friendly by default, allowing residents to bring in their pets based on the tailored conditions of each scheme. For example, no pets in the pool area, or dogs must leashed in all common areas.

To change a by-law, however, all owners must vote at an AGM or EGM, but it is relatively simple to achieve.

Speak with your BCsystems strata manager for more information or see our article Making and Changing Body Corporate By-Laws.

* The new regulations do not impact bodies corporate governed under the South Bank Corporation Act 1989, or Building Units and Group Titles Act 1980.

References: Body Corporate and Community Management Legislation Amendment Regulation 2024: Body Corporate and Community Management Legislation Amendment Regulation 2024

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