Pet owners everywhere rejoiced late last year when it was revealed that a blanket ban on pets in apartments, units and townhouses. Typically these properties were at the mercy of the body corporate regarding pet bans. Even if the landlord agreed a pet was fine, they could be overruled by the common land rules and a blanket ban by the owners’ corporation.

Recent changes to how property that was part of an owner’s corporation is legally viewed opened a pathway for pet owners everywhere. Following the same laws that enable a property to be leased on Airbnb, pet owners no longer need to be concerned about the impact of common laws in their private homes.

In the matter before the courts last year, the owners’ corporation had made several rules prohibiting any tenants or other property owners from keeping pets in the private property as well as the common areas. The woman who was taken to the Victorian Civil and Administration Tribunal, had inherited a dog from her parents, which the owners’ corporation viewed as a breach of their rules.

However, while it was clear that the rules said she was not to keep an animal on her property, the tenant had her landlord’s permission and they both agreed the dog was not a nuisance. Unfortunately, this was not enough for the owners’ corporation who asked for the animal to be removed.

Finally fronting the courts, the tenant stated that she felt the dog was not a nuisance and in fact well behaved and small enough for the building. This was backed up by the judge who cited the ruling in favour of owners being able to rent their property through Airbnb. The judge ruled that the owners’ corporation ban was illegal and in fact unfairly discriminated pet owners.

This primarily comes down to the nature of both owners’ corporations and the dog in question. While owners’ corporations can make rules about common areas, they cannot prevent a dog being led across on a leash or prevent pet ownership in general.

Ultimately it also depended on the nature of the dog. In this case, Hamish was a 4-year-old Cavoodle who did not excessively bark, chew or act aggressively with anyone. With that in mind pet owners now have a serious case on their side if they decide to try overthrowing a blanket pet ban. Some key points to keep in mind, what that the woman had her landlord on her side. Landlords are still legally allowed to prohibit pets in their building, as they are the owners of the private property.

Another key area is the animal in question, its temperament, species and even breed. A Labrador may not have as much problem with an owner’s corporation, as a Staffy. If your dog is also prone to aggressive or nuisance behaviour, like barking or lunging at people, it is probably not suited to a shared living environment.

So while pet owners do have more rights, they should still consider every aspect before attempting to purchase a new animal. When moving with a dog or cat, it is also recommended to seek advice from a property lawyer before signing anything who can help you determine any restrictions on pets at your new property.


Image Credit: Dog