It appears that just before the recent election campaign the previous Queensland Government launched a review of property law with a focus on body corporate matters, including the regulation of pets and smoking in apartment buildings. I trust that the new Queensland Government will pick up this review and consider any legal changes it deems necessary in the public interest.
Brisbane-based economist Dr Stephen Thornton made an interesting submission to the review (Dr.StephenThornton_BCCMPropertyLawReview_30.01.2015), in which he argued for a clear right for an apartment owner or occupier to keep at least one pet, without the consent of the body corporate, subject to reasonable conditions (e.g. on noise, animal behaviour, etc). Stephen makes an interesting case based on the economic, financial and social impacts that would be associated with the higher rate of pet ownership that would occur as a result of his policy change. There is no doubt that pets are big business – according to estimates in Stephen’s submission over $1 billion is spent on cats and dogs in Queensland each year – and that a higher rate of pet ownership would result in additional economic activity and jobs in pet-related industries.
Stephen estimates that, if the proportion of Queensland apartment dwellers with pets increased from his current estimated rate of 5% to say 25%, there would be additional pet-related expenditure of $80-160 million per annum and additional employment of around 550-600 people in the medium-term (see p. 4 of his submission). Stephen also considers important financial benefits via an estimated property price uplift of 5% and important health benefits (e.g. reduced stress) associated with owning pets. In summary, it’s a very interesting submission that deserves consideration by the new Government.