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Faithful readers of this publication will be aware the by-laws which attempt to restrict the weight of a pet have been found to be invalid by previous Adjudicators – but what about a by-law which attempts to restrict pet ownership to just one pet?

In a case decided in February this year, owners at the Oceanview Terraces scheme sought approval to bring Daisy (a 25 kilo cross breed) and her bother Baxter (a 15 kilo spoodle) to stay on their lot.

At first instance, the Committee advised the Applicants that they by-laws did not allow for more than one animal to be kept in a lot and further that the animal must weight less than 10 kilograms.

Unperturbed, the Applicants asked the Committee to consider whether the by-laws were invalid. The Committee wavered on a decision before back tracking.

 The Applicants put up 3 motions to the next AGM to remove the invalid by-laws and approve Daisy and Baxter to be kept within their lot. None of the motions were passed by the owners at the scheme.

Accordingly, the Applicants sought the assistance of Adjudicator Pulsford. Of the 24 lots at the scheme, 6 lot owners objected to the change to the pet by-laws and the approval of Dasy and Baxter for the following reasons:

  • The single, shared entryway and stairs meant that the objecting owners would experience “ever-present apprehension” of meeting the dogs on the common property;
  • Frail owners would not be able to traverse the stairs with dogs on the stairs;
  • Dog hair would cause allergic reactions to owners;
  • Allowing pets on the scheme would de-value their homes;
  • One owner complained of a lifelong fear of dogs – stating that the fear was “life-threatening”

The Applicants inspected submissions and provided their replies – in a master stroke they included Gold Coast City Council regulations which allowed for more than one pet to be kept within a home.

In news that will surprise precisely no one, Adjudicator Pulsford confirmed a blanket ban which took away both the responsibility and discretion of the body corporate to perform an assessment and make a reasonable decision would not stand.

Adjudicator Pulsford affirmed the by-law was oppressive, having regards to the interests of all owners and occupiers.

Reasonable decision-making requires genuine and adequate consideration of all relevant factors, for and against. Reasonable decision making does not permit the decision-maker to rely on irrelevant factors. It does not permit “unfounded or illogical outcomes”.

You can read the entire case here: