Think Nicholsons

Feb 01

Pets in Strata – a gravitational perspective


My friend Ian has a French Bulldog called Maximus. I am Maximus’s toy. He likes to play a particular game with me which, because I am unfamiliar with the French canine vernacular, I will refer to as “make Andrew bleed”. He’s very good at it. There seem to be bonus points for contaminating the wound with any one or more of his various bodily fluids. Based on my experiences to date it appears urine scores the highest on the bonus points spectrum.

Here’s a few things we already know... Firstly, you don’t need to have heard Ivan Pavlov’s bells to make general observations about dog behaviour. We know dogs instinctively mark their territory with urine. For the vast majority of humans, dog urine has an offensive odour, particularly if it's from someone else’s dog. 

Secondly, you don’t need to have been hit in the head by one of Sir Isaac Newton’s  apples to understand some basic principles of gravity.  If we drop that apple from our balcony on the 20th floor its likely point of impact will be the seldom-used outdoor setting on the podium level, where it will come to rest alongside participants of former successful gravitational experiments including abandoned cigarette butts, shattered stubbies and children’s toys. 

Lastly, you don’t need to be an active participant of Tinder (or Grinder) to understand water molecules are attracted to each other. Water and other liquids are cohesive (they stick together) and adhesive (they stick to other stuff). So, when Maximus urinates on the kitchen tiles, there’s one big puddle of urine. But when he urinates on the pillow of the guest’s bed... you get the picture.

Now lets put all this together in one big happy strata building.  Mr Turner owns a St Bernard called Hootch whose toilet facilities are located on Mr Turner’s balcony on the fifth floor of a prestigious apartment building. Although Hootch is toilet trained, he’s not impervious to distraction by other animals in the neighbourhood and consequently spends long periods barking through the balustrades, where, on occasion, he has been known to relieve himself. 

Mr Turner’s downstairs neighbours on level four eloquently describe the resultant cascade as “50 shades of yellow”. As they hose Hootch’s aromatic puddles from their balcony, their downstairs neighbours on level three yell abuse at them for splashing the (now somewhat diluted) urine on their freshly cleaned glass balustrades. The owner on the ground level complains to the committee about the noise from level 3 and, to add salt to the wound (no bonus points), the committee gives those owners a breach notice.

The moral - when performing due diligence on your next apartment purchase, don’t overlook the laws of gravity.


Andrew Suttie

Partner
Andrew practices predominantly in strata law. He has extensive experience in advising bodies corporate and other stakeholders of their rights and obligations under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 and related legislation.