Pets in apartments – an unfolding story

22 October 2020

Following the recent ruling by the NSW Court of Appeal, no apartment building in NSW will now be able to have a blanket ban against pets in their bylaws. It will now be determined on a merit basis which means it could go either way when an application is made.

This ruling was made after Jo Cooper, an owner in Sydney’s Horizon building, undertook a lengthy battle against her Owner’s Corporation to allow her pooch Angus the right to reside in the building. The Court of Appeal found the Horizon’s bylaw to be “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive” and the bylaw restricted the lawful use of each lot, as long as it didn’t impose on other residents.

As discussed in a recent article by Domain, apartment buildings across the state are bracing for an influx of applications for pets of all kinds now that this precedent has been set. As quoted in the Domain article, David Sachs of Sachs Gerace explains “It means that in any building with bylaws that currently don’t allow pets, if an owner’s refused permission to keep a dog or cat or fish, they can just go to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) which will potentially overturn the bylaw”.

With pet ownership a huge trend following the Covid-19 pandemic with people spending more time at home, there are more and more buyers looking for apartments that are pet friendly. While many new developments across Sydney now designing and building apartments blocks with our furry friends in mind, it is the existing apartments blocks that have not been designed with pets in mind that will have to make the biggest changes.

We watch this unfolding space with interest.