Blanket Ban on Pets in Strata Units overturned

Blanket Ban on Pets in Strata Units overturned

Pet Owners have won an appeal to overturn a blanket ban on pets in strata units.

On 12 October 2020, the NSW Court of Appeal handed down the decision of Cooper v The Owners -Strata Plan No. 58068 ruling that a by-law imposing a blanket ban on pets in a Strata Schemes was void and unenforceable.

Ms Cooper, a resident of the prestigious Horizon Building in Darlinghurst, won a costly and lengthy four and a half year battle to keep her miniature schnauzer, Angus, with her in her strata unit despite a bylaw making it illegal for strata lot owners to keep pets.

The case began in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), when the Owners Corporation commenced proceedings against Ms Cooper to remove her 14 year old miniature schnauzer from the building as she had disobeyed the by-law relating to animals being kept in the building.

The by-law said that “an owner of a Lot must not keep or permit any animal to be on the Lot or the Common Property”.

Ms Cooper lodged a cross claim against the Owners Corporation on the basis that the by-law was invalid. strata units

Ms Cooper won her cross claim, and the Tribunal ruled that the by-law contravened the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015.

The Owners Corporation appealed to the NCAT Appeal Panel, which overturned the original decision and upheld the by-law. The Tribunal Appeal Panel held that a by-law refusing the keeping of animals in a strata scheme “is not, itself, impermissible” under the legislation and given that Ms Cooper would have been aware of the by-law when she purchased the property, the Owners Corporation were successful.
Ms Cooper then appealed this decision to the NSW Court of Appeal and was successful in her claim.

The NSW Court of Appeal upheld NCAT’s original decision and ruled that a by-law which denied the keeping of animals contravened the section 139 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 which says that a by-law must not be “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive”.

This decision will set a precedent for pets in strata schemes in NSW and will allow owners to challenge a by-law that creates a blanket ban for pets in a strata scheme.

On 12 October 2020, the NSW Court of Appeal handed down the decision of Cooper v The Owners -Strata Plan No. 58068 [2020] NSWCA 250 (“Cooper”) which is a landmark decision for pets in a strata scheme.
The proceedings first began in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), when the Owners Corporation of a residential building in Darlinghurst commenced proceedings against the Coopers to remove their fourteen year old miniature schnauzer from the building as they had disobeyed the by-law relating to animals being kept in the building. The by-law stated that “an owner of a Lot must not keep or permit any animal to be on the Lot or the Common Property”.

The Coopers lodged a cross claim against the Owners Corporation on the basis that the by-law was invalid.

At first instance, the Coopers were successful, and the Tribunal ruled that the by-law contravened the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 however this decision was overturned by the Appeal Panel of NCAT. The Tribunal held that a by-law refusing the keeping of animals in a strata scheme “is not, itself, impermissible” under the legislation and given that the Coopers would have been aware of the by-law when they purchased the property, the Owners Corporation were successful.

The Coopers appealed this decision to the NSW Court of Appeal and were successful in their claim. The NSW Court of Appeal upheld NCAT’s initial determination and ruled that a by-law which denied the keeping of animals contravened the s139 of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 which says that a by-law must not be “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive”.

This decision will set a precedent for pets in strata schemes in NSW and will allow owners to challenge a by-law that creates a blanket ban for pets in a strata scheme.

A landmark court judgment has delivered a huge win for strata unit owners who keep pets.

The highest court in NSW ruled that an attempt by one of Sydney’s most famous apartment buildings to ban animals was a breach of the law.

The ruling means no apartment building in the state will be able to enforce blanket bans on pets.

Three Court of Appeal judges struck down the attempt from building The Horizon in Darlinghurst to bar unit residents from keeping animals, overturning the right of apartment blocks to pass bylaws restricting pet ownership.

The verdict followed a five-year legal fight by a pet owner in the building to keep her dog.

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Bartier Perry partner Sharon Levy, whose firm represented Jo Cooper, the owner of a 13-year-old miniature schnauzer named Angus, said the unanimous decision would have wider repercussions for pet owners.
“This decision effectively changes the way owners corporations can govern their strata schemes,” Ms Levy said.

The ruling is a win for Angus but it’s also a decision that should ensure owners corporations take a more balanced approach to the governing of apartment owners, she said.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed- priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.
At Brazel Moore Lawyers we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.

If you have a questions about Strata By Laws call Geoff Brazel now on 4324 7699 or contact us at https://brazelmoorelawyers.com.au/contact-gosford-lawyers/

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