Apartments go to dogs

It has just become easier for NSW dog owners to keep their furry friends in an apartment. Photo: Marina OliphantPet-owning apartment and townhouse residents will no longer be faced with choosing between their furry friends and their homes when new strata laws come into effect.

The NSW Fair Trading Minister, Anthony Roberts, confirmed in Parliament this week that default strata bylaws will be changed so that pets will be allowed, subject to “reasonable” approvals and conditions set by executive committees.

At present in NSW the model bylaws say pets are banned unless there is written approval, so this is a subtle but significant change in emphasis.

However, the model bylaws can be altered once a new building or townhouse complex has accepted them, and most do. It takes a 75 per cent vote of owners to change them.

“This reflects the overwhelming views of the discussion papers submitted last year,” Mr Roberts said. “Nobody should be surprised that this is our position or that the default bylaws will change.”

Mr Roberts said the new default bylaws would bring some fairness back to strata living for pet owners and end the situation where they have to choose between giving up on their new homes or having a much-loved companion animal given away or put to sleep.

“We are just reflecting what the community overwhelmingly wants,” he said, adding that the proposals had been aired at length in the discussion documents circulated last year as part of the strata law reform process.

The issue was raised in Parliament by member for Sydney Alex Greenwich, Clover Moore’s annointed successor. Ms Moore has long campaigned for a more humane set of standard strata bylaws.

When the new strata laws come in, probably some time next year, the default bylaws will say that pets are allowed subject to approval, which must not be unreasonably withheld.

However, default, or model, bylaws are not immutable state laws; they are just a template that most new buildings can adopt and adapt to suit their own specific circumstances.

And they won’t operate retrospectively. Strata owners who want to change existing bylaws will still need to get the support of 75 per cent of owners at a general meeting.

Don’t miss Jimmy’s flat column in the Domain liftout.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.