Changes to Legislation By-Laws Relating to the Keeping of Pets

Posted: March 21, 2024Categories: , , ,

There have been recent changes regarding the rules on keeping pets in strata and community schemes.

Following the landmark Court of Appeal decision in Cooper v The Owners – Strata Plan No. 58068 [2020] NSWCA 250 (“Cooper”), by-laws containing blanket bans on pets were deemed harsh, unconscionable, or oppressive. Consequently, amendments to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (“SSMA”) were introduced, including section 137B and clause 36A of the Strata Schemes Management Regulations 2016, which prohibit by-laws from prohibiting the keeping of animals (except in very limited circumstances).

Now, the Community Land Management Act 2021 (“CLMA”) is being amended to include section 129A, similarly enshrining into legislation that by-laws cannot prohibit the keeping of animals in communities (except in very limited circumstances).

New amendments are coming to the SSMA and CLMA to address several areas of contention:

  • Restrictions on bonds or fees related to keeping animals are now expressly prohibited.
  • Clarity is provided regarding assistance animals, requiring evidence of accreditation and training.
  • Amendments clarify the validity of older pets’ by-laws, ensuring compliance with the SSMA.

These amendments to the SSMA will came into force on 11 December 2023, while those to the CLMA will follow upon proclamation.

These changes reflect the growing number of people living in strata and community schemes who desire the option to have pets. However, restrictions exist regarding certain breeds and behaviours, ensuring the safety and well-being of occupants.

As a result, owners corporations and communities may need to review and update their pets’ by-laws to align with these amendments and ensure compliance with the law.