There is now an updated summary of this topic compiled in preparation for the next general meeting ... click here
First please read the ruling by Unit Titles Schemes Supervisor in relation to delegating power to committee.
Bottom line of above reading is we can not delegate the approval of pets to the committee because our Articles of Corporation are outside the Management Modules.
We are still using the defaults set of articles attached by default when the corporation was formed. Twenty two years on we have not made any changes to them. I am not sure that all body corporation members were aware that a corporation may, by special resolution, alter its articles by amending, rescinding or adding to suit the body corporates own circumstances. ( as long as they the changes do not contradict any superior governing laws or regulations)
At the moment our articles say residents must get majority approval from a general meeting of the body corporate to have pets.
This does not work. Approval time is too long for Estate agents requiring potential tenants to sign tenancy agreements. etc. Just does not work.
Also August 24 2021 NSW ruled any unreasonable delays in reaching a decision on whether or not to accept pets will be taken as approval.
Other states and territories are expected to follow.
The approval process would be a lot better streamlined if committee had the authorisation to approve pets.
We could amend our articles from:
(f) except in accordance with the permission given by a majority resolution of the corporation, keep any animals or birds in or on his unit or the common property.
(f) except in accordance with the permission given by a majority resolution of the committee, keep any animals or birds in or on his unit or the common property.
Changing the articles, requires registration with the Registrar-General. Its a bit of a process but can be done.
(however, must admit I am not familiar with the process here)
However, I believe it may be a lot easier for us to do as the schemes supervisor suggests and to create general permission (by way of a majority vote of OC) which sets out conditions under which tenants and owners can keep pets. Especially keeping in mind 70% of residents already have pets.
Over the years there has been a concerted trend of adjudicators generally ruling in favour of having less onerous restrictions on keeping pets in strata properties. In Queensland and I believe the NT is to follow the banning of all pets, as well as banning dogs of a certain size or weight by bodies corporate has been ruled invalid.
From a tribunal or legal point of view the primary issue for a body corporate considering a pet application is the likelihood of an adverse impact on common property or any person.
So whilst existing body corporate articles and by-laws that regulate and place restrictions on keeping pets still stand these restrictions cannot be deemed to be “unreasonable.” While there are many grey areas on what constitutes “reasonable”, one example would be that it’s “unreasonable” to ban pets altogether or place arbitrary weight/size limits for them. It has been successfully argued and demonstrated that ironically dogs such as greyhounds, Great Danes, St Bernards etc are much more suited to apartment living than many of the smaller breeds such as Jack Russel’s who need A LOT of stimulation.
It would be “reasonable” however, to place restrictions on keeping a dangerous animal as this would have “unreasonably negatively affects” on other residents.
It has been deemed unreasonable for committees to put a one-pet-per-Lot policy in place. However, permission may be revoked where the owner does not have the required permit to keep a certain number of animals. Generally, Local Councils would require a permit for more than two animals to be kept on the Lot.
In denying permission we have to be very mindful of the fact, that pets have been tolerated in the complex for 21 years now. And currently 7 out of the 10 units have pets. And I believe most of those that currently have pets can not prove they were given permission by the body corporate.
Whilst our articles say owners must not keep animals without corporation approval , one could have a strong case for assuming pets are allowed given that 70 % of current residents have pets., and that permission would be a formality.
And thus since the Director for Policy Coordination of the Attorney Generals Justice department says we are able to set out general conditions under which tenants can have pets, given the circumstances formulating a pet agreement would seem to be the obvious and most acceptable way forward. And in doing so asking all current, resident pet owners, to also sign the agreement.
Conditions Under which owners can keep pets (This would need to worked on. )
Above is just an off the cuff draft example . Like I say it would need some input from others.
Pet Approval Agreement
Owners and their tenants are permitted to keep pets on the condition tenants agree to and sign the corporations Pet Agreement.
The signed agreement must be handed to the body corporate manager prior to moving in.
Permission to keep pets is not given to tenants that have not signed the Pet Agreement
prior to moving in.
Expectations for the care and management that must be met to prevent permission being revoked.
That the animal is kept within the Lot while present in the complex.
That the animal is not permitted to roam on common property, or into other lots .
That the animal traverses common property, the animal is suitably restrained.
That any waste or mess caused by the animal is effectively cleaned and disposed of.
That any applicable local council regulations are complied with.
That approval may be revoked if the animal causes any noise or disturbance to interfere with any person’s use or enjoyment of another lot or common property.
Permission to keep pets will be revoked if the animal exhibits aggressive or potential dangerous behaviour.
The tenants agree with the conditions set out below and understand that breaches of this agreement will result in the approval to keep the pet being revoked.
If permission is revoked the tenant understands that they have 30 days to remove the animal from the complex.
Name. __________________________________________. Unit ________
(name of person responsible for the animal)
Signature ____________________ Date _________________
Peter Brady 13th Jan 2022
We have 10 units and 6 already have dogs or cats. Given the current 60% pet residency I think most agents and potential tenants would reasonable assume that pets are allowed.
And having read the Unit Titles Schemes Supervisor report. I think its just a matter of setting out the conditions under which pets can be kept. Similar as to suggestion above , by way of a signed Pet Approval Agreement, which lists the pet house rules.
Clearly stating that if the committee record three breaches of the pet approval agreement , permission to keep that pet will be revoked.
I think important that owners and their agents are made to understand that the general Pet Agreement mustbe signed by the tenant prior to moving in. Once they move in it makes things more complicated.
After seeing a news item on TV where a couple of crowing roosters were driving neighbours insane I now think the Pet Agreement should state what animals are not granted permission eg. Rooster, Poisonous snakes, etc
And further state that general permission applies to normal everyday, common pets and does not apply to pets that could be categorised as exotic pets , these will require a specific approval from the Owners Corporation.
Malcolm Richardson 23rd Jan 2022
Good work on this and the common property parking issue.
May I suggest that the Pet Agreement also include the type of pet and the number of pets.