A five year legal battle has ended in victory for Johanna Connor and her husband who are residents of Darlinghurst’s Horizon building and the owners of a now very happy miniature schnauzer named Angus. The NSW Court of Appeal has ruled that blanket ban ‘no pet’ by-laws do breach the threshold established under the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (Act), being that a by-law must not be “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive”. In addition, the court found that the removal of a ‘no pet’ by-law did not pose to infringe on lot owner’s rights to use and enjoy their lots and the common property.
The case of The Owners – Strata Plan No 58068 v Cooper was initially heard by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) where it was successful only to be overturned by the Tribunal’s Appeal Panel, the matter finally landed in the NSW Court of Appeal where the initial decision has been upheld. This landmark NSW decision has given pet owners the legal upperhand to have ‘no pet’ by laws invalidated.
Whilst the court has determined that blanket bans are invalid, there is still room for strata schemes to institute by-laws for the purpose of restricting animals which may be a nuisance to lot owners, for example if they cause excessive noise.
In a similar manner as Cooper, the case of The Owners — Strata Plan No 55773 v Roden was successful when heard at NCAT however the Appeal Panel concluded that the Act did not operate to prevent pet prohibiting by-laws. The decision in Cooper is now highly influential in having the decision of the Appeal Panel in Roden overturned and paves the way for other pet owners living in or wanting to live in strata schemes with their furry friends.
If you would like to follow the legal battle of Ms Connor or Mr Roden read our earlier articles on the matters:
The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.