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Pets in Units

We have had a large number of applications lately for people seeking to have pets in their property and prospective purchasers looking to buy properties subject to pet approvals.

In a Strata Corporation in South Australia the default position is no pets without corporation approval which comes from Schedule 3 - Articles of strata corporation:

“Subject to the Strata Titles Act 1988, a person bound by these articles must not, without the strata corporation’s consent, keep any animal in, or in the vicinity of, a unit.”

This approval is just an ordinary resolution meaning that at a general meeting called of all owners (with a minimum 14 days’ notice) more people need to vote in favour of the motion to keep the pet at the property than against in order for the motion to be passed and the pet to be approved.

The corporations can make rules or conditions that exist around the pet approval such as only accepting that specific pet for the term of its natural life or create blanket policies such as all units being approved to house an indoor cat.

Any approvals created do not detract from the Articles of the corporation and pet owners should still expect that any animals causing a nuisance (such as yappy dogs) would be requested to be removed or see the other owners push for penalties to be applied.

It is handy for all corporations to discuss their position on pets at Annual General Meetings from time to time as this gives prospective purchasers a guide on whether they should continue to look at buying into that unit group and can thwart some sales agents putting out advice that a property is pet friendly when the majority of residents are against pets in the complex (as I recently had expressed by a new owner in a residential group in Kingswood who bought the unit on the agents advice that the property was pet friendly).

Within Community Corporations owners need to check the by-laws as these will state what the rules are for pet ownership within the group and it is not uncommon to see that pets less than 10kg are approved but this is different from property to property.

Our advice to all of our clients is that when people seek approval for a pet, no matter what the previous stance of meetings has been that the applications needs to be considered upon its merits and then the vote taken to democratically determine whether the pet be approved.

If one pet is approved then a ‘precedent’ is not created, just as there is no hard and fast ‘no pet policy’ as all applications need to be considered on their individual merits.

Personal note - I was always anti-pets and considered this a good thing about living in units but Sarah and the kids helped change that by bringing home this delightful creature, Millie. Thankfully our unit group was OK with indoor cats. Image by Sarah Jane W Photography

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