Pets in rental properties

Over the last month there has been an interesting discussion played out in the media regarding the approval of pets in residential strata buildings. A new ruling in NSW has overturned the ability for strata committees to pass by-laws preventing you from keeping your furry friend in your apartment with you.

As a result of highly publicised cases, the NSW Court of Appeal recently overturned a decision that allowed a blanket ban on pets. The ultimate result has meant that strata buildings are unable to have or pass a by-law that effectively bans pets completely, stating such a by-law is harsh, unjust and unconscionable.

Whilst this has not resulted in any actual changes to the applicable Strata legislation, we are of the view that it will become easier for lot owners to have pets in properties that they occupy. However, this does not mean that you are unable to reject a pet if a tenant requests one. The Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) (the RTA) provides that owners are able to refuse a pet request on reasonable grounds. Even if a building permits pets, you are still able to exercise authority and refuse a pet if it is reasonable to do so. The definition of ‘reasonable’ is subjective so it will depend on a case by case basis.

It remains to be seen whether the RTA will be changed but at the moment, an owner is still able to reject a pet if they so choose.