Body Corporate or Landlord Issues
BODY CORPORATE ISSUES: IF CONSENT IS REFUSED OR YOU CANNOT FIND ANY ANIMAL FRIENDLY PROPERTY
If the body corporate has refused your application to have a pet on your property, these steps might be able to help you:
1. Check Body Corporate Rules
- These rules are different for every residential area. In order to find your Body Corporate By-laws go to your Real Estate agent and organise to do a titles search to access the applicable Body Corporate rules.
- In Queensland, contact the Commissioner for Body Corporate and Community Management on 1800 060 119 for advice.
Check if similar assistance is in other states.
2. Lodge a dispute with the Commissioner (if the commissioner advises this is appropriate).
An owner cannot unreasonably withhold their consent. However it may be reasonable to have conditions on the types of pets allowed.
- If a Body Corporate refuses to look into or ignores a request to keep a pet you can lodge a dispute.
- A By-law to have “no pets” has been deemed too restrictive in disputes in the past, but there can be conditions.
- If the Body Corporate says that pets are not permitted without written permission (which is the default position in the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997), yet the owner has met all reasonable requirements, the owner can lodge a dispute if refused.
3. Check to see if there have been previous owners or occupiers of the property that have owned a pet. This can be a persuasive precedent for your request for a pet or to keep a pet.
4. Appeal the decision
- If you believe the decision was unreasonable there are several routes of appeal, namely, dispute resolution in the form of mediation, adjudication or appeal to the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.
THE LEGAL STUFF
In Queensland, the relevant law is the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997.
- Under section 180 of the Qld Act it states “a By-law cannot prevent or restrict a transmission, transfer, mortgage or other dealing with a lot”.
- Section 181(7) “a By-law cannot prevent the sale of a lot to a pet owner who provides reasonable assurance that the animal will be kept securely on the owners lot, [ensuring the animal is kept on a lead or in a carry cage when crossing common area, without the animal causing nuisance and in accordance with local government sanitation and pest control requirements.]”
- An appeal on the grounds of section 181(7): “a By-law must not be oppressive or unreasonable”.
- The owner of a lot can motion to change the community management statement that can enable them to keep pets. More information regarding this is found under section 55 of the Act.
NOTE: THERE CAN BE CONSEQUENCES FOR KEEPING A PET WITHOUT CONSENT
Section 4 Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 contains the relevant By-law concerning the keeping of animals without the body corporate written approval.
Several penalties can flow from the violation of this By-law:
- Service of a notice requiring you to comply with the relevant law or by-laws. This may mean you would have to get rid of your pet or leave.
- A Fine – usually if you do not comply with the notice a fine is issued against you by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal of up to $5,500.
You cannot be evicted by the landlord UNLESS the landlord has an eviction order from the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.
ARE YOU HAVING ISSUES WITH YOUR LANDLORD WHEN IT COMES TO PET OWNERSHIP?
To address landlord issues with keeping your pet, the Residential Tenancy Authority (a Qld Govt body) is there to help or phone 1300 366 311
- They will check the relevant Tenancy Agreement first. Currently, the landlord has the right to say “no pets”. AWLQ is currently working to develop a fairer process, which recognises that companion animals are part of the family, and important to many for physical and mental health. Provided your pet is not causing harm or nuisance to others, and you demonstrate responsible care of your pet, we believe it is unreasonable to have a general “no pets” rule. This is already the case in body corporate decisions.
- If there are grounds for a dispute process, the Residential Tenancy Authority asks both parties to participate in resolving the dispute.
- They help reach an agreement by working with both parties if possible.
- If no agreement, or if the matter is urgent, a formal complaint can be lodged through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Tenants Queensland is a non-government support service who have some good resources explaining the process.
Your pets are part of the family so do not give up on them!
For more information or to share successful progress with pet friendly accommodation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org