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For so many homeowners, buying a property also means finding a home for their pets. Our pets are part of our family and so the family home must suit them as well.

Until recently, if you purchased a property like a unit, apartment or townhouse, and if that property was part of a strata scheme, that didn’t automatically mean your pet could live there too.

Some owners’ corporations, that is, the term used to refer to the group of owners that collectively own the land on which their unit, apartment or townhouse is situated, could have a rule which didn’t allow pets on the premises. That has now all changed!

From Wednesday 25 August 2021, the NSW Government will enact new laws that will put an end to bans on animals in strata properties. The changes follow a detailed review of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 and extensive public consultation which focussed on keeping animals in strata schemes.

The new laws will also however have specific grounds where an owners’ corporation can refuse an owner from keeping an animal in a strata scheme or take steps to remove an existing animal from the scheme.

The circumstances can include:

  • If the animal repeatedly damages common property; or
  • The animal shows menacing behaviour; or
  • There is persistent noise and odour from the animal.

Members of owners’ corporations will also be able to set their own reasonable conditions through by-laws on how pets are kept within their strata scheme.

These new laws reflect a broader community sentiment and demonstrate a balanced approach for both residents and owners’ corporations in keeping pets in a strata scheme.

Research has found that Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, with 61% of households having a pet in their family, and 91% of households owning a pet at some point in their lives.

For more information about the new laws, you can visit the NSW Fair Trading website.