Pet owners win under new body corporate law

Pets

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Receive an obligation-free proposal

We offer an obligation-free quote.

The first step is a short phone or in-person meeting to better understand the needs of your committee and scheme. This will only take around 10 minutes.

From there, we’ll put together a tailored proposal, including our easy-to-understand fee package.

Submit our proposal form, including the best contact time, and we’ll be in touch.

Receive an obligation
free proposal

We'll need to get some details about your building. Let us know the best time to contact you.

The Queensland Parliament passed a new bill on 15 November 2023, which strengthens the rights of pet owners, and diminishes the power of a body corporate to keep pets out of the scheme.

While this new law does not have a commencement date just yet, it has been passed, and now gives bodies corporate some time to adjust their approach to stay on the right side of the new law.

What does it mean for bodies corporate?

The new legislation will mean body corporate by-laws cannot restrict the number, type, or size of pets that can be approved by the committee or the body corporate.

  • The body corporate’s policy on the number, type or size of pets is now equal to the local council by-law about the keeping of animals.
  • The only acceptable limits on number, type or size, and of pets must now be equal to the standards set out by the local council. The body corporate cannot be more generous than the local council, as local council laws override body corporate by-laws, and it cannot be more restrictive than the local council. For example – if Brisbane City Council allows a domestic household to keep 2 dogs without a license, a body corporate cannot set a maximum of 1 dog per lot.
  • Body corporate by-laws however, can continue to apply conditions about the keeping of the pet, for example:
    1. Pets must be registered with council, microchipped, vaccinated etc
    2. Where the animal can and can’t go on the common property, for example they can’t go in swimming pool or BBQ areas
    3. The pet must be always on a leash in the common property areas
    4. Management and disposal of the pet’s waste

Reasons to refuse a pet application

There are now very limited reasons, set out specifically in the legislation, that a committee can refuse a pet application.

These are:

  1. Keeping the animal would pose an unacceptable risk to the health and safety of an owner or occupier of a lot because:
    • The owner or occupier is unwilling or unable to keep the animal in accordance with reasonable conditions that address the risk; or
  • The risk could not reasonable be managed by conditions imposed on the keeping of the animal.

       2. Keeping the animal would contravene a law;

    • The animal is a regulated dog under the Animal Management (Cats and Dogs) Act 2008
    • keeping the animal would unreasonably interfere with an occupier of another lot’s use and enjoyment of the lot or common property and the interference could not reasonably be managed by conditions imposed on the keeping of the animal;
    • keeping the animal would unreasonably interfere with native fauna that live on, or visit, the scheme land and the interference could not reasonably be managed by conditions imposed on the keeping of the animal;
    • the occupier does not agree to reasonable conditions proposed by the body corporate for keeping the animal;

In summary

As we have observed over the years, Queensland law is becoming more favourable towards pets. We have seen this in sweeping changes to pet rights for tenants in rental properties, including both freestanding houses and body corporate properties, and we are now seeing this change in body corporate law.

Whether or not your individual body corporate owners are in favour of pets, the writing is on the wall that all strata developments are being made pet-friendly as a matter of law.

Bodies corporate now generally cannot decide whether to allow dogs and cats. Instead, the committee’s role is to set reasonable conditions about the pet and the pet owners’ behaviour to avoid or minimise pet nuisance.

Whether to maintain the approval process or not?

Many committees have already passed blanket approvals on pets, subject to certain conditions. This reduces the amount of committee effort and cost spent on passing motions to approve pets – which in most cases cannot be refused.

Instead, those committees focus their time and money on enforcing the conditions against the small number of problem pets and/or pet owners.

Pets are now being treated in a similar way to children, ensuring reasonable rules about how they use and behave in the common areas.

In closing, we believe it is time for bodies corporate to consider motions to introduce a new by-law that automatically allows pets to be kept a) if they comply with the local council pet ownership rules, and b) that applies sensible and strongly enforceable conditions within the scheme.

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