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Pets now allowed in Sydney apartments as blanket ban on animals lifted by NSW Court of Appeal

Written by Ashley Blake

Great news for pet owners as the NSW Court of Appeal has just overturned the right of apartment buildings to pass by-laws prohibiting animals. This means that apartment buildings in NSW will now not be allowed to have a blanket ban on pets!

Domain have published an article on their website with the background into how the ruling came to light and what this means for pet owners in NSW…

The verdict follows a four-and-a-half-year battle by dog lover Jo Cooper to be permitted to keep her miniature schnauzer Angus in the prestigious Horizon building in Darlinghurst that has always had a pet ban.

The ruling, the unanimous verdict of all three sitting judges, now means that no blanket ban on pets will be permitted in any building anywhere in the state.

The court also ruled that the 43-storey Horizon should be liable for the costs of all the hearings, which could amount to as much as $500,000 in total for the owners.

At the Elan apartment tower in Kings Cross, which also outlaws pets and has been the focus of another legal fight from some animal-loving owners to keep dogs, there will now be a meeting of the strata committee to decide what to do next.

At the moment, the Elan is pursuing costs against one of its owners, Bob Roden, 73, who applied to the NSW Civil Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for permission to keep a dog at some point in the future. Like Ms Cooper, he won his case at NCAT but it was then overturned by an NCAT appeal panel.

This latest decision overturned that original appeal, and has reinstated the original NCAT finding that a bylaw prohibiting pets was “harsh, unconscionable and oppressive”.

The Court of Appeal ruled that a blanket ban on animals infringed the limitation that a bylaw must not be “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive”, and that the bylaw also restricted the lawful use of each lot on a basis which lacked a rational connection with the enjoyment of other lots and the common property.

“This does put limits on the extent that owners can democratically create rules for their own buildings, and bylaws now can’t be used for anything people do in their own lot that doesn’t affect others. It’s now going to be difficult for those who have genuine fears or dogs, or who are very allergic to dog and cat hair.”

What are your thoughts on the new by-laws?


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