Pets in apartments – a closer look at your rights if you rent.

17 November 2021
Pets in apartments – a closer look at your rights if you rent.

Pets in apartments – a closer look at your rights if you rent.
Cally Hannah and Mariana Peres
17 November 2021

‘Pets in apartments’ is always an emotive and controversial topic of conversation between landlords, tenants, and strata managers.

The Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA) regulates strata communities in Western Australia. Unless the strata scheme has written and registered its own by-laws, the Act’s standard by-laws apply to all strata schemes. If the by-laws of the strata community permits residents to have a pet, then there is no issue. If the by-laws make no provision for pets, then the act enables the Strata Council to, in effect, determine if owners can have pets or not. This will allow you to keep a pet unless the Strata Council has given a notice not to keep the pet.

In Western Australia, the landlord has complete discretion in regard to your right to allow a pet to live in rented property. You should never keep a pet without the landlord’s permission. The landlord, in turn, would need to ensure compliance with the strata rules that apply to the unit or apartment complex that you reside in, if it is a Strata Title.

The need for consent is summarized below:
a) Own your home, no Strata Title – No consent required
b) Rent property, not Strata Title – Landlord consent required
c) Own a Strata Title Property – you must comply with the Strata Council decision
d) Rent a Strata Title Property – you must comply with the Strata Council decision and have the landlord consent

In October last year, the New South Wales Court of Appeal created hope for many pet owners around Australia, by unanimously deciding that an owners corporation could not enforce a by-law that imposed a blanket ban on animals. Since being handed down by the Court, the landmark decision of Cooper v The Owners – Strata Plan No 58068 [2020] NSWCA 250 has had, and will continue to have, far reaching implications on the governance of owners corporations.

This year, the NSW Parliament regulated the Strata Management Amendment Act 2021 (NSW), which legislates that strata managers cannot deny permission for residents to keep a pet.

In recognition of the changes occurring over east, amendments have been made to the Strata Titles Act 1985 (WA), to better reflect modern standards and expectations. To date, however, the changes to legislation do not include allowances for pets to reside in Strata Title dwellings. It may be that these changes will occur eventually here in WA, however, for now, if you live in WA, you may need to have both the landlord’s permission and the strata manager’s permission, before keeping a pet at home.

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