MEDIA STATEMENT: 26 AUGUST 2020
Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst has passed a groundbreaking amendment in the NSW Upper House, stopping strata schemes from passing by-laws unreasonably preventing owners and occupiers from having companion animals.
Please see quotes below from the Hon. Emma Hurst MLC:
There are apartment and townhouse complexes in NSW that have by-laws that prevent people from having a companion animal, and there is nothing stopping strata management from retrospectively creating restrictions for residents who already live under a strata scheme. This amendment is changing that.
My amendment will ensure stories like that of Colin and his greyhound Bu - who were living in a Bellevue Hill apartment until a sudden change to the by-laws resulted in Colin being told Bu could no longer live with him - will not occur.
Colin, who is elderly and suffering a range of health issues, was distressed and unsure what to do. Thankfully he managed to get the support of some lawyers and the community, and after a significant media campaign, the strata scheme agreed to allow Bu to stay. But sadly, Colin’s story is not an isolated incident.
In the past few years, there have been a number of court cases seeking to challenge these by-laws.
Currently, the Strata Schemes Management Act allows owners corporations to pass by-laws which ban animals from being kept in an apartment building, unless the animal is an assistance animal.
Our amendment, which passed in the Upper House last night, provides that a by-law will have no force or effect to the extent it unreasonably prohibits having an animal in a strata complex.
This means that the strata scheme would have a legitimate basis to withhold permission for someone wanting to bring a horse into a one-bedroom apartment, but they couldn’t prevent owner occupiers from rescuing a cat.
It is unacceptable that we would require someone to have to choose between selling an apartment they own, or losing their companion animal – simply because of a by-law.
There are hundreds of thousands of healthy cats and dogs in pounds looking for forever homes- and many loving families who can provide these homes. This change in the legislation will help those families to be able to safely adopt and save a life without risking having to lose their homes.
We are a nation of animal lovers, and our state must become more companion animal friendly- this is the first step.
I am proud to say that the Legislative Council has passed my amendment, protecting the ability of humans and animals to live together securely in apartment complexes regulated by strata by-laws. The amendment will now go to the lower house before becoming law.
MEDIA CONTACT: Rosina Rayns, 0401 991 792