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Cleaner, greener and pet-friendly strata living in NSW

Published: 10 February 2021
Released by: Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation

The NSW Government is making it easier for strata schemes to approve sustainability infrastructure in residential apartment buildings.

Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the changes passed in the Legislative Assembly yesterday will unlock the potential of sustainable energy and infrastructure in apartments by lowering the voting threshold from 75 to 50 per cent to get energy efficient projects passed.

“We know that apartment blocks are lagging behind in the uptake of green energy like solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicle charging points,” Mr Anderson said.

“This important change will remove a huge barrier in strata schemes getting sustainability projects over the line.

“Importantly, in time these measures will ease cost of living pressures by encouraging less electricity and water usage, which will flow on to their bills.”

Mr Anderson said that as part of the new reforms to improve strata living, amendments have also been made to the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 that will make pet ownership easier by requiring that by-laws cannot unreasonably prohibit the keeping of an animal on a strata lot.

The amendments provide greater certainty to Strata Schemes following the recent decision handed down by the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of NSW in Cooper v the Owners - Strata Plan No. 58068 which overturned a by-law that imposed a blanket ban on the keeping of pets because it had no connection to the impact that keeping a pet would have on other lot owners.

“Owners should be able to use to use their property as they wish as long as it doesn’t unreasonably interfere with the rights of other owners to enjoy their own home and the common property in their apartment,” Mr Anderson said.

“For too long common sense has been missing in this debate. These amendments provide a sensible solution that balances the rights of pet owners with those of other apartment owners.

“Importantly, the changes also recognise there will be times when the keeping of a pet may not be appropriate in a complex due to the impact this will have on neighbours or the welfare of the animal.

“These changes are a sensible response to modernise our strata laws by removing outdated, and unfair blanket pets bans where it can be shown that keeping a pet won’t impact other people.”

The NSW Government will now consult with the community to establish clear guidelines on when it will be considered unreasonable for a pet to be kept in a strata complex and intends to finalise Regulations within six months, before the new amendments come into force. This will also include details of how the new requirements will interact with existing by-laws.

To enable proper consultation, the Government will extend the closing date for submissions to the current Statutory Review of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 until March 7 for anyone wishing to make a submission relating to the keeping of pets. To have your say please visit the NSW government website.

These proposed changes will go before the Legislative Council next week.

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