Amendments will come into effect this week in a win for pet owners who rent via community title schemes.

Community title scheme renters’ rights have been strengthened with amendments to Queensland Body Corporate Laws this week following the Queensland Government’s consultation with key stakeholders, including RSPCA Queensland.

As of May 1st, 2024 these changes reduce the barriers for homeowners and renters to keep pets, with new legislation preventing body corporate by-laws from unreasonably withholding approval for the owner or occupier to keep an animal.

However, a by-law can require written permission from the body corporate or committee to:

  1. Have an animal on their property or the shared property.
  2. Allow a guest to have an animal on their property or the shared property.

If a by-law says a person requires permission from the body corporate or committee to have an animal, a decision must be made in relation to the animal within 21 days of the request. Additionally, they can also decide to impose reasonable conditions as a part of the approval. The body corporate must notify pet owners in writing as soon as practicable after the decision is made.

If a decision is not made by the body corporate within 21 days of the request, the animal is deemed to have been approved. Pet owners should still receive a notice in writing from body corporate advising of the deemed approval.

It’s advisable to follow up the body corporate if notice hasn’t been received after 21 days from the request.

Refusal is still possible on certain grounds, and these are listed in the amendment Act under Section 169B (Body Corporate and Community Management and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2023).

The changes mean that it is unreasonable for the body corporate or committee to deny a request for having an animal, however it is important to note that the landlord would also need to approve this request.

RSPCA Queensland is aware that households are finding it difficult to secure pet-friendly rental properties. This is aggravated by increasing cost-of-living pressures, but also in some jurisdictions, laws make it difficult for pet owners to find a place to live with their animal. Even where there is legislation designed to help protect pet-owning renters, there can be silent discrimination.

Rachel Woodrow, General Manager Animal Welfare at RSPCA Queensland, said the current rental and housing crisis in Queensland is also causing more people to surrender their companion animals as they try to obtain housing.

“At RSPCA Queensland, we see around 1 in 4 surrenders related to owners unable to secure housing with their pet,” says Ms Woodrow.

RSPCA Queensland believes people and pets are better together with the goal of supporting pet owners, property managers and agents in working towards a more pet inclusive housing market. These recent changes are a positive step in the right when it comes to body corporates and their influence over the permittance of animals in rentals.

RSPCA Queensland’s Positive Pet Tenant Program helps pet owners put their pet’s best paw forward when applying for a rental tenancy, view more details about this program.