About Pet By-laws





Whether or not you can keep a pet in your strata building depends on the registered by-laws for the building, the type and number of pets you want to have and the attitude of the owners corporation to pets and your particular pet.

If your apartment is in a company title building or part of a larger development, such as a community scheme or a building governed by a strata management statement, there are other considerations.

What are by-laws?

By-laws are the rules in a strata building which bind the owners corporation, owners, tenants and mortgagees in possession of lots.

How are by-laws made?

By-laws come into existence a number of ways:

  • they may be by-laws contained in legislation and which automatically applied when the strata plan registered
  • they may be model by-laws contained in legislation and adopted for the building when the strata plan registered
  • they may be registered with the strata plan for the building, in which event they are known as developer by-laws, or
  • they may be made by special resolution in general meeting and registered after the strata plan is registered

What by-laws apply to my building?

If the strata plan for your building registered prior to 1 July 1997, the by-laws for your building are:

  • those contained in schedule 1 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW) [see schedule 1 pet by-law for the terms of this by-law], and
  • any amendments to existing by-laws or new by-laws made by special resolution in general meeting and registered

If the strata plan for your building registered on or after 1 July 1997, the by-laws for your building are:

  • the model by-laws contained in the regulations to the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW) [see pet model by-laws for the terms of this by-law], or
  • developer by-laws registered with the strata plan, and
  • any amendments to existing by-laws or new by-laws made by special resolution in general meeting and registered

If my building’s strata plan registered prior to 1 July 1997, do the by-laws allow pets?

You can keep a pet provided you have obtained the written approval of the owners corporation: approval cannot be unreasonably withheld.

If the model by-laws apply, do they allow pets?

This depends on whether option A, B or C in the model by-laws has been adopted for your building.
Although the regulations have changed over the years, by-law 16 (keeping of animals) in the model by-laws has remained unchanged and contains options A, B or C.

Option A prohibits the keeping of any animal without the prior written approval of the owners corporation, which cannot be unreasonably withheld. There is an exception for fish in a secure aquarium.

Option B is similar to option A except that the exceptions also include a cat, a small dog or a small caged bird. There are also conditions on keeping an approved animal.

Option C prohibits the keeping of any animal.

If no option is selected, then option A applies by default.

All options are subject to section 49 (4) of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW). This section renders invalid a by-law which purports to prohibit or restrict the keeping of a guide or hearing dog by the owner or occupier of the lot.

In addition to residential schemes, the 2005 Regulation introduced model by-laws for retirement village schemes, industrial schemes, hotel/resort schemes, commercial/retail schemes and mixed use schemes.

The animal model by-laws for residential schemes are repeated for:

  • retirement village schemes, and
  • rmixed use schemes
  • The model by-laws for industrial schemes and commercial/retail schemes contain no animal by-laws.

The model by-laws for hotel/resort schemes prohibit the keeping of any animals.

Five easy steps to find out your building’s pet position

Step one

  • obtain a copy of the strata plan, and
  • obtain a copy of all current registered by-laws

These documents are available from several sources, including strata legislation, the strata managing agent for your building, the Registrar General and the contract for sale if you are buying. It would also be wise to see if there are any by-laws which have been approved in general meeting and which are not yet registered.

Step two

  • find out the date the strata plan registered (this will be shown on the registered copy of the strata plan), and
  • if the model by-laws apply, find out which option applies (this will be shown on the registered copy of the strata plan)

Step three
if the strata plan registered prior to (but not including) 1 July 1997, continue on with this step: if it registered on and including 1 July 1997 go to step four

the applicable by-laws for your building are:

  • those set out in Schedule 1 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 1996 (NSW), and
  • any amendments to existing by-laws or new by-laws registered after the strata plan registered

Step four
if the strata plan registered on or after 1 July 1997, continue on with this step

the applicable by-laws for your building are: either:

  • the model by-laws, or
  • the developer by-laws registered with the strata plan, and
  • any amendments to existing by-laws or new by-laws registered after the strata plan registered
  • if the model by-laws apply check which option of the model by-law applies (option A, B or C)
now go to step five

Step five

  • by following the above steps you will now know whether the by-laws for your building allow you to keep a pet
  • if pets are prohibited, then you are not allowed a pet and you should look to live in a building which does permit pets
  • the more difficult issue arises if pets are permitted with approval: you must apply for approval and you must not assume approval is automatic
  • if your apartment or home is part of a larger scheme (such as a community scheme or subject to a strata management statement) you should also check the terms of the relevant management statement because it may also contain conditions about pets