These Q&A from WA Lot Owners about pet approvals and living near noisy dogs in strata have been answered by Brian Rulyancich, StrataTAC and Gary Phillips, StrataGP.
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- QUESTION: How do we challenge the ‘no pets’ bylaw preventing us from keeping our dog in our apartment? When trying to change a by-law, does it have to be done without dissent or does the 75% rule apply?
- QUESTION: Our building has recently acquired tenants with barking dogs, 3 little dogs in fact. One of the dogs barks a lot, especially when the tenants aren’t home. Can I do something to stop this noise?
Question: How do we challenge the ‘no pets’ bylaw preventing us from keeping our dog in our apartment? When trying to change a by-law, does it have to be done without dissent or does the 75% rule apply?
We own a dog but are not allowed to keep it in our apartment. The dog has been living with our daughter in her apartment. Can she bring the dog over for a visit about every two or three weeks even though it isn’t allowed to live with us?
Also, we wish to challenge the bylaw that prevents us from keeping the dog in our apartment. When trying to change a by-law, does it have to be done without dissent or does the 75% rule apply? Can you advise?
Answer: It is a “double” vote, but it is achievable.
The standard by-laws Schedule 2 Conduct by-laws item 12 states as follows:
An owner or occupier of a lot must not —
- (c) keep animals on the lot or the common property after notice in that behalf given to that person by the council.
This is the standard by-laws as per the amended 1985 Act; however, it is the same as the standard by-law in force currently.
Now from your second question your strata have a by-law in place disallowing pets and without seeing the by-law wording I will assume it to relates to lot owners and occupiers not able to “keep” pets.
Your pet would be visiting which is technically a grey area. You are not keeping a pet but your actions could spark issues as it could be stated that you are using a lop hole or bending the rules. Are there any signs within the complex saying ‘No Pets Allowed’?
Also, were you aware of the by-law when you purchased your apartment? Was there full disclosure and were questions concerning pets asked? This comes back to knowing what you were entering into.
I can understand the relationship people do have with their pets; they are a family member. I would strongly suggest in the interim you have a discussion with your strata manager or council of owners for some waiver or acknowledgement that your pet can visit periodically. You will not be keeping it onsite and hopefully, there would no potential consequences.
Regarding challenging the ‘No Pets’ By-law: yes, you can challenge the by-law. You will need to have a discussion with your council of owners (COO). State your reason and discuss the outcome you would like i.e. revert to the original standard by-law which in essence does not say you can have a pet, equally it doesn’t say you can’t. It puts the responsibility back on the owner/occupier to properly maintain and control their pet keeping in mind all the occupiers within the complex.
As it is a schedule 2 (Conduct by-law) it requires a “Special Resolution” to succeed.
It is not a 75% rule under the act. It is as detailed below:
To be successful you would require the following vote:
Not less than 50% of owners and not less than 50% of the aggregate unit entitlements agreeing and a no vote that is not greater than 25% of owners and not greater than 25% of the aggregate unit entitlements.
It is a “double” vote but can be achievable.
This post appears in Strata News #341
Question: Our building has recently acquired tenants with barking dogs, 3 little dogs in fact. One of the dogs barks a lot, especially when the tenants aren’t home. Can I do something to stop this noise?
I am the only owner/occupier in the building and there are twelve units.
Our building has recently acquired tenants with barking dogs, 3 little dogs in fact. One of the dogs barks a lot, especially when the tenants aren’t home and I live right on top of their unit. I read that tenants are supposed to carry their dogs on common areas, which these tenants do not do. They seem like nice people so at this stage I haven’t said anything or contacted my Strata Manager, who unfortunately isn’t the best! I look forward to hearing from you.
Answer: A friendly reminder may well afford them the opportunity to address the issue without the heavy-handed approach of a formal breach notice.
The Strata Titles Act 1985 deals with this issue, however in the interest of ongoing relationships between occupants of the strata complex an approach to the council of owners and the strata manager to have a notice sent to the tenants via the owner/s outlining the issues and what the strata bylaws and the Strata Titles Act 185 require.
This can take the form of a friendly reminder to the owner of their and the tenant’s obligation to adhere to the strata bylaws and the Strata Titles Act1985. This works well in many cases as tenants may not be aware of the rules and also may not be aware that their dogs are barking to the extent outlined. The friendly reminder may well afford them the opportunity to address the issue without the heavy-handed approach of a formal breach notice.
However, if the friendly approach fails then a request to the strata manager and the council of owners to address the issue may be the only avenue to address the problem. The request should give details of and the extent of the problem and should see a breach notice issued to the owner. The strata deals with the owner not the tenant. Dealing with the tenant is the responsibility of the owner/property manager however the owner is responsible for the tenant observing the strata bylaws and the Strata Titles Act 1985, this is set out in the Strata Titles Act.
The breach notice, depending on the bylaws of the strata company, can give the owner 14 days to deal with the problem or have the dogs removed from the strata complex.
This post appears in Strata News #179 & #262.
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This information is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
Have a question or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
- WA: Reforms to WA Strata Legislation – As a Lot Owner, Should I Care?
- Strata Community Australia (WA): Pets Policy
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