Greg Peel had owned an apartment in a building on Townsville’s waterfront for more than a decade, but decided it was time to move on when his request to restrain his dog on a leash was denied.
Mr Peel said he was aware of a corporation by-law that required any approved pet to be transported or in a carrier when on common resort property.
But then his wife slipped on wet tiles trying to hold their nine-kilogram miniature schnauzer, Lilli.
“She regained her footing, but if she had fallen and Lilli had fallen, they could both have been injured,” he said.
Mr Peel said he was caught ‘breaking the rule’ on several occasions in the basement.
“I was threatened that if I did it again they would remove Lilli from the premises,” he said.
After the run-in, Mr. Peel had a meeting with the corporate body last year.
“I said I would like an exemption for Lilli — she’s 11, she’s partially blind, she’s always lived in a [unit complex]it won’t cause any problems,” he said.
“Several people told me that they were not satisfied [the rule] but they were not ready to thwart the system because the corporate body ruled with an iron fist.”
Mr. Peel was informed that there would be no exemptions.
He said building management was concerned that a dog on a leash could bite someone and the animal could defecate on common property.
“The corporate body said they gave me a good hearing regarding my concerns,” he said.
“But what they really did was listen and keep their own point of view.”
Commissioner dismisses appeal
Mr Peel then filed an application with the Queensland Body Corporate and Community Management Commissioner (QBCCMC).
“We moved during the process because we decided it wasn’t a place we wanted to be,” he said.
In the reason for the dismissal, a CCSAQ arbitrator said Mr. Peel was aware of the regulations before buying the property.
Owner of Harcourts Kingsberry, which runs the unit complex, Ben Kingsbury would not comment on the situation.
In its response to the submission, the resort’s legal entity claimed that other residents were able to manage groceries, children, suitcases while restraining their pets and they did not believe Mr. Peel had circumstances exceptional.
It was also said that all other owners with pet approvals met the conditions.
Negotiate pets in units
Antonia Mercorella, chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, said the process could be a balancing act.
“A corporation wants to create rules that are in the best interest of the [people] live in this regime and I think safety is a vital consideration,” Ms. Mercorella said.
She said that with house prices soaring over the past two years, the industry was increasingly faced with more and more disputes over pets.
“It’s a conversation we need to continue to have and I think the regulatory framework needs to be built in a way that’s flexible enough to allow us to [evolve] as times change,” she said.
“As we evolve as a society and more and more of us live in this genre [of places] it’s important that we have those checks and balances in place and that they work effectively.”
It was important to note that corporate groups had shifted from a general anti-pet approach, Ms Mercorella said.
Ultimately, Ms Mercorella said anyone considering living in a strata-managed property should understand the rules.
“You need to be sure that you will be comfortable and happy living under these restrictions,” she said.
But for Mr. Peel, it was easier to sell than to continue the fight.
“I love my dog more than the moral person,” he said.