Body Corporate Laws and Pets

Body Corporate Laws & Pets

Having troubles with Body Corporate Laws and Pets

 

As you are probably aware, living in an apartment or townhouse under a community title scheme involves all types of rules known as the body corporate laws or by-laws. These rules and laws govern all kinds of issues including the keeping of Pets in your unit or other animals. The main piece of legislation or Body Corporate Laws in Queensland is the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 (“the Act”).

The specific Body Corporate Laws that dictate whether you are able to have Pets within the Body Corporate Community or in your apartment is the Pet/Animal By-law.

This Body Corporate Law will either:-

  1. Strictly prohibit Pets outright;
  2. Allow Pets with Body Corporate approval; or
  3. Be silent on the issue of Pets or animals.

If Pets are strictly prohibited by the By-Law there are circumstances where it can be challenged. In these circumstances, there is no harm in requesting the Body Corporate’s approval first, however the answer is more often than not, a NO.

The only circumstances that can change this, is if there is a special reason for needing a Pet, for example a guide dog under the Guide Dog Act 1972 or if the Body Corporate Law is challenged and over turned due to it being oppressive.

If Body Corporate approval is needed, your solicitor will need to formally write to the body corporate, requesting approval and give details of the animal.

In the event the body corporate then withholds consent, the dispute resolution provisions under chapter 6 of the Act will apply. Particularly, the steps are as follows:-

  1. Self resolution or conciliation. You must make reasonable attempts to try and resolve the dispute before bringing an adjudication application (the next step). Conciliation is a less than formal mediation where an unbiased, impartial person who has knowledge of the body corporate laws provides their opinion to each party to the dispute. This step involves making a conciliation application, paying the required fee and coming prepared on the day with your solicitor.
  2. Adjudication. If the self resolution or conciliation attempts fail, an adjudication application is the next step. This is made by your solicitor to the Justice Department for an order in your favour (to allow the pet). The Department has the power to make orders as they see fit under the Act;
  3. QCAT. In the event an order is made that you are not satisfied with, a further application for an external review of the decision can be made to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

Adjudications from the Justice Department’s office have more recently allowed pets due to Section 180 (7) of the Act, in that a by-law must not be oppressive or unreasonable. McKenzie v Body Corporate for Kings Row Centre [2010] QCATA 57.

This week, we shared a successful outcome with our client, obtaining an interim order allowing her to keep the pet in her Surfers Paradise unit whilst we are waiting for an adjudication hearing in a couple of months.

MacGregor O’Reilly Solicitors can assist with all Body Corporate Law matters including:-

  1. Body Corporate Disputes:
  2. By Law creation;
  3. Issues with Management rights and letting agreements;
  4. Advice concerning the Act.

Contact us today for advice.

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