This Q&A is about pet approval and the correct process for seeking approval.
Table of Contents:
- QUESTION: We recently purchased an apartment and receive approval for a pet. We’ve decided to short term let for a few months and have advertised it as “pet friendly”. The Strata Manager has demanded we stop short term letting and stated there are to be no unknown pets at the property. Can they do this?
- QUESTION: One of my tenants has been denied approval for her dog as it is not desexed. Is this reasonable?
- QUESTION: How does a Body Corporate manage visiting pets? Is it usual to require permission prior to visiting? Can we enforce a time limit?
- QUESTION: We have pet approval for two dogs. One of our dogs has passed and we have a new dog of the same breed. Are we required to apply for pet approval even though we still have no more than two dogs?
- QUESTION: We have moved into our apartment, with our dog, prior to receiving pet approval. It is another two months before a committee meeting. Our dog is very well behaved. Are we doing the right thing?
- QUESTION: A lot owner is seeking pet approval. They have had a dog previously and paid no heed to the bylaws. Will it assist to have a condition setting out our right to rescind permission?
- QUESTION: I own a villa in an over 50’s village in Queensland. Can the manager state that I cannot have a small dog?There doesn’t seem to be anything about ‘No Pets’ in my contract.
- QUESTION: Our Body Corporate has refused a proposal for a resident to keep a cat and a dog. The resident is appealing the vote. What process does this appeal take and, during the process, do we get a chance to support the Body Corporate’s decision?
- QUESTION: I was wondering if you have any information about Pets in strata QLD for strata living and whether or not there has been a change.
- QUESTION: Can body corporate administration fees for approval of pets in our strata be passed onto individual lot owners?
- QUESTION: Do apartments allow large dogs? If the Body Corporate refuses, where do I stand legally?
Question: We recently purchased an apartment and receive approval for a pet. We’ve decided to short term let for a few months and have advertised it as “pet friendly”. The Strata Manager has demanded we stop short term letting and stated there are to be no unknown pets at the property. Can they do this?
We recently purchased an apartment at the Gold Coast. The contract of sale had pet approval. Unfortunately, we can’t move straight into so we have decided to holiday let the apartment for a couple of months. We advertised the apartment as “pet friendly”.
The strata management company is demanding we immediately stop renting the apartment. They are concerned about the short term letting and unknown pets coming to the property. Does the strata company have the right to stop us renting our apartment?
Our pet approval letter doesn’t state the sex, breed, age, colour, weight of the pet. Why does it matter which pet it is? Do we have to stop holiday letting the apartment and say no to pets?
Answer: Pet approval is not usually permission given to ‘any’ animal at any time.
Typically, permission to keep an animal on the scheme is given specific to the animal, i.e., it’s not usually permission given to ‘any’ animal at any time. Things such as the name and the breed of the animal would be noted in the permission. Did you initial permission give you blanket animal approval? You will need to double check that.
Based on what you’ve said, it appears you were given permission for ‘your’ animal and now you have a situation where you want permission for potentially any animal brought by a guest who is short-term letting. That is a different matter and would largely depend on the applicable by-laws. If you are advertising your lot as ‘pet friendly’ and the permissions have not been granted for animals in that context, you (and your guests) may be in breach. You may also find yourself in breach of consumer laws by advertising a property as something which it is not.
The claims of the person who ‘confronted’ you that you must immediately stop renting the apartment as it is ‘residential’ may have more to do with how your apartment is zoned by local council rather than an issue with animals. That said, you will need to consult your by-laws and I recommend you seek legal advice, as there are several issues at play here.
This post appears in Strata News #450.
Question: One of my tenants has been denied approval for her dog as it is not desexed. Is this reasonable?
One of my tenants has been denied approval for her dog as it is not desexed.
Considering all other conditions have been met could this be seen to be insufficient to deny approval? Other dogs have been allowed in the building being well over 10kg as dictated in the by-laws, why would this stipulation have more weight than the size requirement?
Answer: It will be up to the occupier to effectively argue that that is an unreasonable refusal.
I can’t speak for why that particular criteria would have any more significance than others.
I take it from your email that your tenant is not interested in having her dog desexed? Assuming that is the case, it will be up to the tenant – known as an occupier under body corporate legislation – to effectively argue that that is an unreasonable refusal. It may well be that your tenant can argue that as she has complied with every other requirement, refusal simply on this is unfair. On the flip side, though, desexing an animal is both a commonplace occurrence and a reasonably common condition in allowing an animal to stay on the scheme. So your tenant may also want to consider if by not having the dog desexed, she herself is being ‘unreasonable’.
In my experience as Commissioner, the vast majority of animals that were part of disputes either were already desexed or would be desexed as part of conditions agreed to be the owner or occupier.
Either way, your tenant’s option now is to dispute the issue through my former Office, in which conciliation would be the likely first step.
This post appears in Strata News #422.
Question: How does a Body Corporate manage visiting pets? Is it usual to require permission prior to visiting? Can we enforce a time limit?
Can you advise or direct me to the legislation (if any), which shows how a Body Corporate can manage visiting pets?
Is it usual to require permission prior to visiting? Can visiting pets stay for a specified time period e.g. 1 hour, 1 day or 1 week etc?
Can a Body Corporate actually refuse visiting pets. There is an approval process for owner pets, just wondering about visitor pets.
Answer: Pet management is usually regulated by a strata scheme’s by-laws.
Pet management is usually regulated by a strata scheme’s by-laws. These will differ from site to site so you need to review the laws for your complex and determine how to approach the issue on that basis. Whatever rules you have in place a good first step would be to raise the issue at a meeting to review the current by-laws and how they are being applied. If the existing by-laws don’t provide the coverage required you could look at changing them to suit the needs of your scheme.
It is possible for by-laws to have restrictions on visitor’s pets. For example, the model by-laws for buildings built after 1997 state that occupiers must not permit an invitee to bring or keep an animal on the lot or common property without written permission from the body corporate. How such a law gets applied in actuality will likely depend on the overall pet-friendliness of the building. Is it really practical to receive and process an application for a visitor with a dog to visit the site for an hour? At the least, visiting pets would be expected to adhere to the same rules regulating resident pets. Putting up clear signage about pet behaviour may help people understand the rules and expectations.
If a visiting pet is causing a nuisance then it is possible that the occupier would be in breach of not just any by-laws relating specifically to pets but also those referring to noise, behaviour of invitees or damage to the common property. The legislation also prohibits occupiers from using or permitting the use of their lot in a way that causes a nuisance or interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of another lot or common property. Section 167 of the Body Corporate a Community Management Act states:
The occupier of a lot included in a community titles scheme must not use, or permit the use of, the lot or the common property in a way that—
- causes a nuisance or hazard; or
- interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of another lot included in the scheme; or
- interferes unreasonably with the use or enjoyment of the common property by a person who is lawfully on the common property.
Taking action on that basis may be more productive than by simple reference to the prevailing pets by-law.
Remember that if the animal is a guide, hearing or assistance dog no permission is required to bring the animal onto the common property.
This post appears in Strata News #413.
Question: We have pet approval for two dogs. One of our dogs has passed and we have a new dog of the same breed. Are we required to apply for pet approval even though we still have no more than two dogs?
My husband and I purchased an apartment in the Sunshine Coast two years ago. We had approval to have two dogs at the time.
One of the dogs has passed away and we have adopted another of the same breed.
Are we required to apply to our Body Corporate for the new approval for the pet even though we still have no more than two dogs.
Answer: Approvals are usually linked to a particular animal, so I think the safest bet is to ask again.
Subject to the terms of the original approval you may or may not have to.
My experience though is that approvals are usually linked to a particular animal, so I think the safest bet is to ask again.
This post appears in Strata News #318.
Question: We have moved into our apartment, with our dog, prior to receiving pet approval. It is another two months before a committee meeting. Our dog is very well behaved. Are we doing the right thing?
We have moved into our high rise apartment 2 months after applying for our dog pet application. It will be another 2 months before a committee meeting will consider our request for pet approval.
As we had to move in with our pet prior to pet approval being granted is there any way they can force her out either before or after the vote if the application is rejected. We do expect the pet approval to be rejected as they don’t want pets in the building.
Over the past months, I have been harassed by a person claiming to be a member of the committee, saying “we don’t allow pets here”.
We carry our little King Charles Cavalier on and off the property through the basement car park. She is professionally groomed every 6 weeks, vaccinated, and basically sleeps all day.
Are we doing the right thing keeping our dog at the property even though we do not have pet approval?
Answer: In a sense, you have gone for the ‘it is easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission’ path!
No, you are not doing the right thing. You have breached the by-laws by keeping a pet without approval.
Having said that though, what you should do is make your formal application and then wait. If the committee is going to have a VOC to issue a by-law breach notice to you, they can consider the application at the same time.
In a sense, you have gone for the ‘it is easier to seek forgiveness than ask permission’ path!
Question: A lot owner is seeking pet approval. They have had a dog previously and paid no heed to the bylaws. Will it assist to have a condition setting out our right to rescind permission?
An owner in our scheme is seeking pet approval to keep a cat and a dog. The cat is already in the unit, and the dog has been purchased and will be arriving soon. We are in the process of casting our vote.
My concern is that this owner has previously had a dog which is now deceased under very similar conditions but during the ownership, the body corporate was completely ignored. In the most likely event that they get permission for the pet approval, could you please have a look at the condition and tell me what happens if indeed the Body Corporate has to exercise this condition. What are the implications for the Body Corporate and committee and would what happens to the animals?
The Committee for the Body Corporate for […] shall be entitled to rescind permission for the dog if it reasonably considers that the occupier has not complied with the conditions of approval and has failed to respond/react appropriately to the two warning about the concerns.
Answer: It is simply a matter of the body corporate enforcing bylaws and revoking pet approval if the breaches are not remedied.
The first thing is that you cannot shoot first and ask questions later. In financial planning terms, past performance is no indicator of future performance.
If the pet does break the rules, like anything else, it is a matter then for the body corporate to enforce the by-laws. The process here would be to notify the owner about the issues, give them a chance to remedy them, and the revoke the approval. If the pet was not removed, you would need to go to the Commissioner to seek an order that it be withdrawn.
This post appears in Strata News #211.
Question: I own a villa in an over 50’s village in Queensland. Can the manager state that I cannot have a small dog?There doesn’t seem to be anything about ‘No Pets’ in my contract.
I live in an over 50’s village in Queensland.
Can the manager of this park state that I cannot have a small dog? They own the land but I own the villa.
I am 73 yrs old and lost my husband 6 months ago. I would just love a small companion to keep me company.
There doesn’t seem to be anything in my contract that says I can’t have a small dog but they continue to say a big NO.
Answer: If you are in a scheme then there will be by-laws which are applicable.
The first thing to double check is that you are actually in what’s called a ‘community titles scheme’ and not, for example, a retirement village or some other arrangement. If it’s a retirement village which isn’t part of a body corporate, that’s governed by very separate legislation.
If you are in a scheme then there will be by-laws which are applicable. If there’s a by-law about keeping animals, that will be what you need to focus on.
If that by-law says you need permission for your animal, then you can go ahead and seek that permission. If there’s no by-law about animals then you don’t need permission. If the by-law says no animals completely, then you won’t be able to have the animal until that changes and there’s a dispute process for that, as well as for the case if the committee refuses permission.
The terms of your contract aren’t really applicable here, assuming, again, that we are talking about a community titles scheme. If you’re not sure about any of that, you might need to seek some legal advice to assist.
This post appears in Strata News #365.
Question: Our Body Corporate has refused a proposal for a resident to keep a cat and a dog. The resident is appealing the vote. What process does this appeal take and, during the process, do we get a chance to support the Body Corporate’s decision?
We had 2 proposals tabled from 1 tenant. One application was for approval to keep a cat, and the other to keep a dog.
We are a five-unit complex and the motion was resolved 2-0 mainly because the cat was already living in the building.
The application for the dog failed to pass by the same result 2-0.
Aside from the proposer, of the other 2 owners, 1 did not vote and the other was ineligible.
Now the proposer is appealing the vote.
Can you tell me who they appeal to and what process that appeal takes? Also, do the voters who voted “No” have a chance to support their decision?
Answer: The resident needs to go to the Commissioner’s Office to seek an order that the body corporate acted unreasonably in refusing the approval.
What they have to do is go to the Commissioner’s Office to seek an order that the body corporate acted unreasonably in refusing the approval. That will normally take somewhere around three months, but to be honest, these ones are pretty easy for them, which means it may be quicker. The pet will almost certainly be allowed.
…do the voters who voted “No” have a chance to support their decision?
Of course, they do – but the question is whether their say is an objectively reasonable one – which is now what matters. They will be asked for why and they will be able to explain themselves.
This post appears in Strata News #205.
Question: I was wondering if you have any information about Pets in strata QLD for strata living and whether or not there has been a change.
I live in a complex on the sunshine coast where the Body Corporate has been in control for many years without change to their positions or representatives.
They all hate pets and do not consider individual requests or needs. At the last meeting, they refused a request for no reason at all other than to just say they hate pets.
I would appreciate any information you might have on the topic of pets in strata QLD.
Answer: If the Body Corporate has refused a request to approve a pet, the owner can make an application to the commissioner to have the decision overturned.
I know that there have been many cases where the commissioner has given approval for pets.
We have dealt with 4 or 5 cases ourselves.
The owner will also need to check what their bylaw actually say in regards to pets.
If there is a blanket ‘no pet’ rule, the owner could put up a motion on a general meeting to have the bylaw changed to a ‘pets with approval’ bylaw. If that motion is defeated, then they should include it in their BCCM application to have the bylaw changed.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of personal advice.
Question: Can body corporate administration fees for approval of pets in our strata be passed onto individual lot owners?
I live in a block of apartments in QLD and recently had a claim for damage to window frames following a break in. The window frames form part of the common property and a claim was submitted via the Body Corporate Management. Body Corporate Management has since invoiced me personally for the costs of administration for submitting that claim. Can they legally do that?
Also, when a submission is put forward for approval of a pet in our strata, the owner in question has to pay an administration fee to the committee. Can the committee do that or does the Body Corporate have to wear that cost? In other words, what body corporate administration fees can be recouped from individual lot owners?
Answer: If the lot owner wants pet approval considered outside the normal scope of the committee meetings, it is possibly fair enough to charge for this.
If the claim was for common property the strata manager should invoice the body corporate, not the lot owner, but only if they are entitled to under their management agreement.
With respect to the pet, if the owner wants it considered outside the normal scope of the committee meetings it is possibly fair enough to charge for it. While the body corporate has an obligation to respond, it doesn’t have to do so to every single request the day after it lands. If it is put to expense processing something outside the normal course of business, then I think the recovery of the administrative costs is fair. If there was a charge given even though there was a committee meeting already arranged like normal where it was considered, I think not.
The committee should tell the owner that, if they want it considered before the next committee meeting then they must bear the costs incurred. The owner should then be given the opportunity to wait or bear those costs for it to be expedited.
This post appears in Strata News #130.
Question: Do apartments allow large dogs? If the Body Corporate refuses, where do I stand legally?
We own a 140 unit permanent management rights in Queen. We have 33 owner occupiers and 107 rental units of 86 are ours.
We bought the business is Sep 15 and asked if we were allowed an exemption to bring our 30kg bulldog. It was flatly refused. The Body Corporate by-laws state 1 animal up to 10 Kilos.
Since we have been here for a while, we are considering asking permission again, however, the committee is old school retired people and I am sure they still won’t approve.
If they still say no, where do I stand legally? I have heard of many onsite managers having special approval for a dog, so surely there is something that can be done.
Small dogs are often more troublesome than large dogs and the amount of excellent potential tenants I have to turn away because of a dog over the limit is enormous.
Hoping you can give me some guidance.
Answer: The starting point is whether a 10kg limit on pets is unreasonable.
The starting point is whether the 10kg limit on pets is unreasonable. Adjudicators consistently say that it is unreasonable – so the committee can’t rely on that for a basis of saying no to the pet even if it is in the by-laws. The committee would need to consider the pet application on its merits and approve it on reasonable conditions or refuse it (but only if that would be considered reasonable).
Other than a demonstrated nature of the pet to cause a nuisance to others, it is very difficult for a committee to refuse any pet.
This post appears in Strata News #127.
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