Buying and renting pet
friendly home units
Home unit owners are either strongly pro pets or anti
pets. The strata by-laws in a block of home units /
apartments will reflect the views of the majority of owners.
How do you know if the strata scheme is pet friendly when
looking to buy a home unit, and looking to rent a home unit?
You look at the strata by-laws.
How do strata by-laws deal
The model strata by-laws give strata owners
corporations three options when it comes to pets:
Option A allows pets, if they are approved - an owner
or occupier must not keep any animal (except fish kept in a
secure aquarium on the lot) on the lot or the common
property, without the prior written approval of the owners
corporation. Option A is the standard / default option
which applies, unless Options B or C are specifically
Option B pre-approves a cat, a small dog, and a small
caged bird, subject to conditions such as carrying the
animal when on common property.
Option C completely prohibits pets.
If you are looking to buy a home unit and planning to
bring your pet with you, carefully check the strata by-laws
before committing to the purchase, to avoid buying in a
block of units with Option C by-laws. If it is a block of
units with Option A by-laws, then make approval for your pet
a condition of purchase.
Many new apartment developers are pitching to pet lovers
who are looking to bring their pets with them. They choose
Option B for the strata by-laws, limiting the number of pets
to 2 four-legged animals, the size to small dogs not
exceeding 14 kg in weight, and desexed cats only.
Apparently, fat dogs and tom cats are not wanted but fat
desexed cats are welcome!
What proposed changes will
the strata title reforms in NSW bring?
The new model by-laws which are proposed by the
NSW Government will make strata by-laws more pet friendly,
by making Option B the default option. They will permit
small pets (cats, small dogs, birds and fish) as the
‘standard’, but will still allow strata schemes to limit or
ban pets. If implemented, they will apply to new strata
schemes created from 2016.
If you are living in a strata scheme with Option A or
Option C by-laws, then to make your strata scheme more pet
friendly, you need to change the by-laws to Option B. This
is done by a special resolution at a general meeting of the
Tenants with pets
Clause 43 of the standard Residential Tenancy Agreement
prohibits pets as the default position:
43. The tenant agrees not to keep animals on the
residential premises without obtaining the landlord’s
This protects the landlord of a strata unit because it is
consistent with Options A and C of strata by-laws.
Landlords who are willing to rent to tenants with pets
must obtain the approval of the owners corporation.
Otherwise they may be caught in the middle with the owners
corporation pursuing a breach of the strata by-laws on the
one hand and the tenant pursuing a breach of the lease on
Illustration: In Tenancy Tribunal decision
2009/410, the Tribunal ordered the landlord pay the tenant
$3,723, after the owners corporation took legal action
against the tenant to remove their dog. The landlord had
assured the tenant before they moved in that the building
was “pet friendly”, even though the strata by-laws
prohibited the keeping of animals.
The standard Residential Tenancy Agreement contains an
optional clause if the landlord agrees to a pet, and allows
for an extra 2 weeks rental bond to be collected.
It also contains this additional clause which applies if
the tenant has kept a pet on the premises with or without
the landlord’s agreement:
45. The tenant agrees to have the carpet
professionally cleaned or to have the residential premises
fumigated if the cleaning or fumigation is required because
animals have been kept on the residential premises during
Most landlords will have the carpet professionally
cleaned and fumigate the premises.
Disclaimer: Because lenders assess borrowers differently,
and because each borrower’s circumstances are different, the
comments made in this newsletter are not to be relied upon
in specific cases.
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