12 October 2020

PRESS RELEASE: Landmark judgement a huge win for apartment owners with pets

Articles resulting from this press release include: Dog fight sets new horizons for pet-loving apartment owners by Duncan Hughes (AFR), NSW court delivers landmark ruling for pet owners in units by Adam Devine (realestate.com.au), Pets allowed in Darlinghurst's Horizon building after NSW Court of Appeal win by Joel Robinson (Property Observer) and Landmark judgement in favour of pets in apartments by Nathan Jolly (Elite Agent).

  • NSW Court of Appeal invalidates apartment building ban on animals

  • Decision has wider ramifications for owners corporations and apartment owners

The highest court in New South Wales has delivered a landmark decision that has struck down an attempt from one of Sydney’s most famous apartment buildings to ban animals.

Bartier Perry partner Sharon Levy says a unanimous decision from three Court of Appeal judges on The Horizon’s attempt to ban animals from the building was a breach of legislation.

“This decision effectively changes the way owners corporations can govern their strata schemes,” said Ms Levy, whose firm represented Jo Cooper, the owner of a 13 year old miniature schnauzer named Angus. “The court has found that banning animals breaches strata scheme legislation which provides that by-laws can’t be “harsh, unconscionable or oppressive.”

Ms Levy said the decision of Angus’ owner Ms Cooper to fight a lengthy legal battle to keep Angus in her apartment had not only been vindicated but was also set to impact thousands of apartment owners across the State.

“This ruling may have far wider ramifications as to the by-laws owners corporations can impose on apartment owners. Every dog has its day but Angus’ win could mean some significant changes and legal challenges to by-laws for years to come,” said Ms Levy.

Ms Cooper said she was overwhelmed by the court decision after a five year legal battle to keep Angus in her apartment.

“The emotional toll from pursuing this case has been incredibly hard. Yet throughout the last five years I’ve also lost count of the number of pet and apartment owners who have reached out and supported our stance.

Today is a win for Angus but it’s also a decision that will hopefully ensure owners corporations take a more balanced approach to the governing of apartment owners,” said Ms Cooper.