I am a tenant: can I keep a pet in the apartment?

If you rent or propose to rent an apartment in a strata building the answer to this question depends on the terms of your tenancy agreement, the registered by-laws for the building, the type and number of pets you want to have and the attitude of your landlord and the owners corporation to pets generally and to your pet in particular.

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

From whom do I need approval?

As a tenant you need to know that your landlord and the owners corporation will permit your pet.
Your tenancy agreement should cover the pet position.  If it does not then you should speak to your landlord about your pet before signing the tenancy agreement.

You then need to know whether the approval of the owners corporation is required, and if so, whether that approval will be given.  This depends on the by-laws for the building and the attitude of the owners corporation.

What by-laws apply to the building?

For information on by-laws [see about pet by-laws].

Your landlord is obliged to give you a copy of the by-laws within 7 days of your becoming entitled to possession.  However, if you want to keep a pet it is important you are familiar with the by-laws so far as they relate to pets prior to signing the tenancy agreement or entering into occupation.

How do I get approval?

If the building by-laws require approval to pets, then you must obtain that approval before bringing your pet into the building.

The by-laws may prescribe to whom you apply for consent and what information you must provide.

If not, then you should make application to the secretary of the owners corporation: if in doubt, send your application to the strata managing agent.

You should give as much information as you can.  This includes:

  • describing your pet: name, type, size, weight, age, gender, appearance and disposition
  • providing references if you have any
  • information if your pet has been to obedience school

It is a good idea to check what other pets are already in the building and what approvals have previously been granted and withheld.

If you do not have approval before entering into the tenancy agreement, you should make the agreement conditional on getting approval.  You might consider asking your landlord to make the application to the owners corporation for approval to your pet.

If the by-laws do not permit pets, can I change the by-laws ?

As a tenant you do not have the right to vote at meetings of the owners corporation or to commence a process to change the by-laws.

However, your landlord as a lot owner may be prepared to do so.