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A member of the SC (12-lot complex in NSW) is trying to pass a by-law at the upcoming AGM (as part of the required by-law review) where no pet would be allowed and the SC could unreasonably refuse an owner the right to keep their pet.
If the by-law passes, what can I do? Take this to NCAT? What’s the procedure?
I would like my partner to be added to the strata roll. Should she be added first to my mortgage? or the apartment title? or both?
then, how to get her added to the strata roll?
once done, she would be able to vote with me as her proxy (or the other way around), right?
No – wrong.
Only an owner can be on the strata roll. If you want to give her half your property, either as a joint tenant or tenant in common, you will need to go to a lawyer to do that by way of a transfer of that interest. Then she would be entered on the strata roll as a part/joint owner.
Is the issue voting because you can appoint anyone as a proxy?
gee, you’re active in here! thanks, that’s greatly appreciated!
basically I’m trying to maximise votes to block passing on unjust by-laws (e.g. no pets, no questions asked; or furniture on balconies need to be approved by the SC!?? wtf!).
I’m aware I can only have 1 proxy (as per the Act; strata scheme of <20 lots).
so even if she’s a joint owner and thus on the strata roll, she can’t vote? (not sure what you “no – wrong” referred to). I thought the Act says you can have the joint owner vote but only as proxy (I guess to avoid that 2 people of the same lot acts also as 2 proxies, thus getting 4 votes).
what if the guy trying to pass the unjust by-law contacts other owners to rally votes, but I don’t have access to their contact details (so I can’t campaign). can I do anything about that?
tony – you have posted three times on what is essentially the same issue, it is easier if you can do it in one post.
As a general comment, “unjust” is an elastic concept and can be highly subjective. What one person may believe is unjust in the circumstances, another will believe is reasonable. The issue in strata is usually whether something is reasonable.
In the case of by-laws, if the required proportion of owners determine that they want certain rules in place, which may include prohibiting animals, that is what the majority of owners have decided. You have mentioned another issue in relation to outside furniture – many schemes have rules like this, and other rules providing that window treatments must conform to a certain type and colour. There is nothing unreasonable about that. Other rules that go to matters which are not the concern of the OC may be determined to be unreasonable.
I love animals and own a dog – I would never suggest that banning animals is a good idea. But I can’t say it is unjust.
To add to scotlandx’s comment ….. if the by-laws were changed to now exclude pets the by-law would not be retrospective.
Therefore, if you already had a pet you would be permitted to keep the pet until the pet died. You would not be permitted to acquire another pet.
The by-law does not become enforceable until it has been correctly Passed at a general meeting AND has been Registered within the required time period.
If the by-laws have not yet changed and you want to acquire a pet then if I was you I would seek to acquire a pet as soon as possible. The OC cannot refuse you permission to keep a pet until the by-law has been Passed AND has been Registered. It would be unreasonable for the OC to refuse you permission to keep a pet based on a mere possibility that a by-law will be Passed and will be Registered.
I have combine the posts above from two topics as they are basically just the same question (which as Scotland X has pointed out, is an absolute no-no here). This poster is fortunate that they are being suspended from the forum – the instructions clearly state that multi-posting on the same topic is not allowed.
while they pertain to the same overarching issue, questions were in separate posts for clarity’s sake, in order to avoid too many questions in one post (which in my experience decreases the probability of answers) and because each question belonged to a different forum (one was about SC, one about by-laws and the other one about the strata roll which ended up because I couldn’t find an appropriate forum for it).
but I see your point and appreciate the forgiveness.
personally I found unfair that I can keep my cat, but by changing the by-law, no other owner or occupier could keep an animal in the future (animal… that includes a goldfish!).
while I respect my fellow owner opinion, what if the special resolution passes (i.e. more than 75% of votes)? is there any appeal process? procedure to NCAT?
Depending on the breakdown of unit entitlements, you only need two other owners to go to the meeting with you (or send a proxy) to stop the motion going forward. If you can’t garner that much support in the building then you’re really living in the wrong block.
Get the mail addresses of any investor owners and send them a letter telling them basic facts about how buildings that don’t allow pets are less attractive to potential buyers and renters than those that do.
And go to the meeting and challenge every vote in favour of the motion on the basis of whether the owner is financial or not and if their proxies are on the correct form.
But don’t make it personal because then you are asking people to takes sides against someone they may not agree with but personally like.
I work as a manager and have had a number of discussions with strata lawyers over the new SSMA 2015. Owners can’t make a by-law that is unreasonable or harsh. A no pets by law is considered harsh, as for not needing a reason for not allowing pets is very harsh. Basically the by-law would not be enforceable. A motion can be deemed as out of order, if it is unenforceable or would be in conflict with other legislation. Also any motion put by someone who can to vote at the meeting, needs a explanation noted with it and the name of the person proposing the motion. If they are not with the motion then it is out of order and may not be considered.
That’s a new one on me but I can see how a by-law like that, which was proposed without any reasons given, might be considered harsh.
I’m pro-pets myself but I do understand people who just don’t want to have them around, for either cultural or medical reasons. I think we have to allow the option where the vast majority of owners are strongly opposed (rather than not caring but happy to go along with one forceful character).
thanks for your replies, everyone. In particular spmanager, very interesting.
I spoke to my strata manager since who said if the SC can’t agree on a by-law proposal then the old by-laws will still be in place until a new SC agrees on what by-laws to put forward. It is possible that at the next AGM, I am in minority in the new SC (because the other guy bullies the others into joining) and eventually a no animals by-law is proposed. But as others have pointed out, this doesn’t mean it will pass.
does anyone know (at least where to find) figures on whether a no animals by-law is likely to make people less or more likely to buy or rent in a block? I imagine it’s very variable, but I wonder if there are some figures on this.
I could then use this to convince other owners a no animals by-law would damage the value of their property (if that’s the case).
I am not aware of what the NSW legislation says but if it is like the ACT legislation, then the proposed bylaw would be likely to be invalid. In the ACT the Act says a unit owner must not have a pet without permission from the owners corporation but that is balanced by a provision that the OC must not unreasonably refuse.
So, the OC might easily manage to find grounds to reasonably refuse an elephant but probably not a goldfish. Since the Act takes precedence over any rule/bylaw, does NSW have something like the ACT provision in its Act?
In our OC, in the ACT, we adopted a rule that gives automatic permission for most common ordinary instances of pet keeping such as one or two dogs or cats or small numbers of ‘small animals’ such as fish, mice, cage birds, guinea pigs. Our rule retains the right to withdraw permission in instances of substantial repeated nuisance (IE. reasonable demonstrated non-trivial grounds, not just one person getting a bit bothered once).
Our rule still requires residents to apply for instances of unusual animal keeping not covered by our standard provisions. For example there might be some uncommon species that might make an excellent pet but most people wouldn’t know. Then a reasonable committee might require some research before they can decide whether it would or would not be reasonable to grant or withhold permission.
A really good view of the no pets by-laws is given by a law firm specializing in Strata.
- By-laws must not be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive. If they are, they may be ignored
Section 139(1) provides:
A by-law must not be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive.
This is a new requirement. If a by-law is harsh, unconscionable or oppressive, then owners and occupiers may (depending upon its terms) be entitled to simply ignore it entirely, or at least ignore those parts that are harsh, unconscionable or oppressive.
- Absolute prohibition on pets
A by-law prohibiting pets absolutely may be considered harsh, unconscionable or oppressive. For example:
- If a lot is a townhouse with its own garden or courtyard, it may be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive, to prohibit that lot having a pet; and
- It may be harsh, unconscionable or oppressive to prohibit a pet of any species if for example the specific breed proposed by a lot owner is known for being small, quiet and innactive, or possessing traits which mean that it is unlikely to impact on other owners or occupiers.
- Changes to restrictions on pets – Do you know if that pet is an assistance animal?
Under the current legislation, by-laws restricting or regulating the keeping of pets are of no force or effect to the extent they prohibit or restrict the keeping on a lot of a dog used as a guide or hearing dog by an owner or occupier of the lot or the use of a dog as a guide or hearing dog on a lot or common property.
Under section 139(5) of the SSMA 2015, guide or hearing dog has been expanded to anassistance animal(as referred to in section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)). This is a much wider category of animals and you may not know if a pet in your scheme is an assistance animal. Whilst section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) contemplates some manners where an assistance animal can be certified, it can extend to (s. 9(2)(c)):
a dog or other animal trained:
- to assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability; and
- to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour that are appropriate for an animal in a public place.
In this regard, there are currently no requirements for certification, or limiting who the training must be performed by, or even that the trainer be a professional trainer.
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