The Right to keep pets in body corporate communities in Queensland has become the rule not the exception
The issue of consent to keep pets in Body Corporates in Queensland continues to be topical. A recent order by the Commissioner’s Office to uphold a Body Corporate Committee’s decision to not allow a Pomeranian cross, Mishka, to be kept by the lot owners in their lot since November 2018. With the Adjudicator’s decision being published on 11 September 2019.
The Body Corporate Committee asserted that it was reasonable to refuse request by the lot owners to keep Mishka in their lot. One novel submission relied on by the Committee is not often seen in these cases, that the pet’s presence or scent would introduce disease and increase the spreading of weeds – environmental impacts and adverse impact on wildlife.
The environmental impact seemed to have been to most significant of objections raised by the Body Corporate Committee. Other objections were relied on such as noise, animal waste and health impacts.
The legal question to be satisfied was whether the Applicant, the owner of the pet, had demonstrated the Body Corporate acted unreasonably in not granting the approval such as the decision was contrary to law and must be overturned. The Adjudicator found in effect that the Applicant carried the onus to establish that the decision of the Committee was unreasonable not that the onus was upon the Body Corporate Committee to establish that its decision was reasonable.
The Adjudicator found that the Applicant had not identified any particular circumstances relating to his family or the dog that would make it reasonable for the Committee to deviate from its policy not to allow pets. This decision seems to fly in the face of many other decisions of the Adjudicators of Queensland where pets have been allowed.
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