This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by braveheart 3 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #12068
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    NM2018
    Flatchatter

    Hi All!

     

    So, my application for an extremely nice unit in the Concord area of NSW has been accepted, I am extremely excited to say the least! On inspection and upon approval of my application, was approval for my pet to reside with me by the agent and obviously the owner. ( a bit of background, I have lived in the same apartment for 5 years now and bought my Pomeranian when I first moved in 5 years ago, so he is house trained and has never had a complaint against him ).

     

    I have placed application to the strata for approval of having a pet (previous tenant also had a dog as confirmed by the agent on inspection of the property ). Strata refused my application based on issues they had with the previous tenants dogs. Now, after several emails going backwards and forwards (majority being replied by the strata within a short time frame and discrepancies proving they haven’t even acknowledged my application properly) they are still refusing the application based on previous tenants. They have advised the following

     

    “….under no circumstances are ***management to allow any prospective tenants in apartment 1 to house a dog. This was due to the recent problems with the former tenant moving out due to issues with their dog and also with the past problems since 2014, where the tenant’s dog caused major problems which triggered the Breakfast Point Community Association to intervene, no approval will be granted for a dog in unit 1.

    This information was conveyed you the release estate agent and then should have been filtered to yourself. Confirming the dog is NOT approved.

    As per my previous email, should any attempt be made to move in with the dog, the Strata Committee will lodge an application immediately with NCAT for the immediate removal of the dog.”

     

    Could someone please help!! this to me seems to be an unreasonable refusal.

    #30853
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    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    What a mess.

    Firstly the agent or landlord has a problem as they approved your dog. They should have made approval of the dog conditional on the OC approving the dog.

    Get back on this point later.

    If you move in with your dog without approval, you will be in breach of a bylaw. That also means you are in breach of your lease so the landlord can terminate your lease. You don’t want that.

    Can you leave your dog with a friend for a short period? If that’s impossible then put it on the landlord to pay for temporary dog housing. Since the landlord approved your dog, it seems reasonable that he pays for the interim dog accomodation. OR they reduce your rent a similar amount to the dog accomodation because you expect to house your dog as part of the tenancy.

    Your lease should have a copy of the bylaws attached. Find the pet clause and read it. Does it say that reasonable approval cannot be refused. If that is not in the bylaw it becomes a little trickier.

    Next you need to apply to NCAT . The basis of your application is that reasonable approval has not been granted.

    That a previous tenant had a nuisance dog is irrelevant in your application to the OC. It seems that someone just doesn’t like dogs.

    Support your application to NCAT with references for your dog.

    From what I have read NCAT is accepting that pets are part of everyday living and overturning unreasonable refusals for pets

    Only after you get NCAT ruling in your favour can you move your dog in.

    If you don’t get approval the landlord has a problem. He would be in breach of the lease and you may able to get some compensation to move. But that’s another forum.

    Good luck

    #30857
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Kaindub’s post would make sense, but … NCAT has at least twice this year ruled that blanket by-laws banning pets are harsh and unconscionable. 

    This one would almost certainly fall under that ruling as this owner’s dog is being judged on the behaviour of another dog and another owner.

    Let them threaten you with NCAT all they like … in the current climate they are far from guaranteed to win

    #35664
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    braveheart
    Flatchatter

    I’m a little late to this thread but ….

    As I understand from recent experience and research of this issue, there is a clear process that prospective tenants are expected to follow before they bring an animal into a strata scheme:

    First, they need written permission from the landlord. The OP says approval was given by the agent ‘and obviously the owner’. However, it is not so obvious as the OP has explained it here. It is not clear that a specific request was put to the landlord and that written approval was then provided by the landlord. The rental agent has no authority to give consent.

    Assuming that the OP did in fact receive approval in writing from the landlord, the next step is to write to the OC via the Strata Manager requesting permission for the animal, including a copy of the written consent of the landlord, and as much detail as possible about the animal as to its size, breed, character, vaccinations, micro-chipping, how waste will be managed, how it will be exercised and so on.

    What should not happen is that the prospective tenant just moves in with the animal without written consent of the landlord and without written permission from the OC, and simply pretend that fait accompli will prevail. This is a cyclical ploy by prospective pet owners in strata that seems to be occurring with increasing frequency. It is a tactic that NCAT or any other body charged with oversight of strata living should actively discourage by not rewarding it with favourable rulings.

    A tenant who simply arrives with an animal and makes no prior application for consent from the landlord and makes no application to the OC is in beach of their lease and in breach of any by-law that might apply to the scheme with regard to animals. Such a tenant has not acted reasonably and should not simply expect to be granted retrospective consent to the animal when they are duly alerted by the OC to cease acting contrary to the by-law and the terms of their lease.

    If such a tenant then continues to house the animal and makes a retrospective application to the OC, it is surely not unreasonable of an OC to refuse permission given the tenant’s obvious failure to respect the terms of their lease from the outset and failure to meet the minimum reasonable expectation of a prospective pet owner.

    #35665
    Jimmy-T
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Braveheart’s post is mostly right in its general thrust but a bit shaky on detail.

    The OP says approval was given by the agent ‘and obviously the owner’. However … it is not clear that a specific request was put to the landlord and that written approval was then provided by the landlord. The rental agent has no authority to give consent.

    Really?  Can we assume that the rental agent has “no authority to give consent”? If the rental agent has the authority to sign the lease then they can also authorise other aspects of the lease.  FYI, in Victoria, landlords can’t unreasonably refuse consent for pets.

    Assuming that the OP did in fact receive approval in writing from the landlord, the next step is to write to the OC via the Strata Manager …

    They could just write directly to the strata committee … especially if there is no strata manager. And it depends on the by-law in place.  One of the two optional by-laws in the model by-laws in NSW says the resident only needs to inform the OC that they have a pet.

    … requesting permission for the animal, including a copy of the written consent of the landlord, and as much detail as possible about the animal as to its size, breed, character, vaccinations, micro-chipping, how waste will be managed, how it will be exercised and so on.

    Again, the demand for any such detail would depend on the by-laws and “house rules”. There is no default legal requirement for such detail.

    What should not happen is that the prospective tenant just moves in with the animal without written consent of the landlord and without written permission from the OC, and simply pretend that fait accompli will prevail.

    Well, yes to the former (if you include agents) and “depends” to the latter which is subject to whatever by-laws are in place.

    This is a cyclical ploy …

    I assume you meant “cynical”. Sometimes people just don’t know – especially if they are getting mixed messages and incorrect information.  That’s why it’s important for Owners Corps to make it clear what their polices are, and the by-laws that relate to them.

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by Jimmy-T.
    #35687
    Avatar
    braveheart
    Flatchatter

    Jimmy T – Thank you, I appreciate your response.

    Yes, I do understand that an agent has a license to act on behalf of the owner in terms of authorising a lease. However, my understanding is that each individual application by a tenant (VIC and NSW) requires the written consent of the landlord, in which case the rental agent cannot give consent to an animal without the consent of the owner (on a case-by-case basis). Otherwise, why the need for written consent from the landlord at all? What if an owner has told the rental agent that their property as not suitable for pets? In principle, an owner still has a right to withhold consent. And an Owner’s Corporation likewise still has a right to decline an application for an animal if they believe there are reasonable grounds to do so. Whether they are challenged is another matter.

    And, yes it all depends on the specific by-laws in place at the scheme in question.

    Regarding your second point, yes of course they could write to the EC directly, and that would be a welcome and polite thing to do, as would having the courtesy to check with the landlord first. Providing information about your intended pet in your application is an opportunity to show that you have a reasonable attitude to your new neighbors and you intend to be a responsible pet owner.

    However, my post was aimed at the highly annoying situation of tenants who don’t even bother to ask before they move in with their animal, or who sign a lease and then just acquire the animal shortly after, hoping to just brazen it out when objections arise. A tenant is in breach of their lease if they keep an animal without the written consent of the landlord and without prior notification and/or written permission of the OC (depending on the actual by-law in place).

    Even if Option A is in place, an occupier would still have to notify the OC in writing and this must be done within 14 days of housing the animal in the lot. Many people won’t bother and won’t care when the OC comes knocking.

    Option B says the occupier may keep an animal with the written approval of the OC, although with the caveat that an OC ‘must not unreasonably withhold its approval’. (The pre-1996 Schedule 2 by-law isn’t that much different in this respect). In both cases, written approval still needs to be sought and obtained. And ccording to Option A, there is a time limit of 14 days.

    I am specifically focusing on situations where an occupant fails to act reasonably by ignoring these basic requirements and continues to ignore them after being notified. In that case, the occupant is not adhering to the terms of their lease with respect to by-laws. Is it unreasonable of an OC to withhold approval for any retrospective applications in such circumstances?

    As to your final point (and yes, that should read ‘cynical’ – spell check gremlin), it’s usually not difficult to work out who is trying it on and who is genuinely bewildered. By the same token, prospective tenants can always read the notice board in the lobby when they inspect. Before they sign a lease they can read the rental agreement – the by-laws should be included by the agent. Or they could just be upfront and say ‘We’re planning to get a dog/cat – ‘is the landlord OK with pets? Is there anything we need to do first’?

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