Residential Estate Living with Your Pet
With the rise in popularity of residential complexes and estates, it’s important to consider what this means for your pets.
These estates come with many benefits and amenities, but if you plan on investing in this type of property, you must be aware of the Conduct Rules.
Keeping a pet in these complexes can often be a source of conflict and debate among residents.
Sellers, buyers and estate agents would do well to address this specifically in sale agreements to avoid disappointment and dispute down the line.
Sectional Title Schemes VS Home Owners Associations
With a Sectional Title Scheme, your Body Corporate has the right to impose limits on pet ownership.
The rules might prohibit pets altogether, or impose limits on the number of pets allowed, types of pet, breeds or sizes allowed, access to common areas, noise-control, replacement on the pet’s death and so on.
Trustees should take care here to define clearly what is allowed and what isn’t. You need to find out exactly what rules apply in your estate or complex.
Home Owners Associations (HOAs) have similar rights to restrict the keeping of pets, but no “Prescribed Rules” apply as they do with a sectional title and their powers will depend on whatever founding documentation underlies them.
While laws may be imposed by homeowners’ associations, the requirement for a reasonable approach is entrenched in the very laws which govern how a sectional title scheme should be managed.
Trustees should take care here to define clearly what is allowed and what isn’t.
Advantages to Accepting Residents with Animals
There are several advantages for Body Corporates when accepting pet-friendly policies in their complex or estate, here are a few:
Having pet-friendly policies in a complex or residential could increase the prospective buyer pool. With the significantly large number of pet owners, you have a wider range of prospective buyers to choose from if you allow pets on the property.
You should also note that responsible pet owners could be responsible homeowners, too. A homeowner who is mature enough to take good care of an animal is more likely to treat your property with the same level of respect.
Having their pets around could also make a resident happier during his/stay on the estate. Animals also help to reduce stress. Landlords who are willing to offer pet-friendly accommodation and include a pet-related addendum in their lease agreement are more likely to enjoy greater peace of mind.
Dog owners also bring an additional security feature. No matter what breed of dog, they are likely to alert their owner if there’s been a breach.
SACAC Guide to Pet-Friendly Developments
Body Corporates and Landlords who are looking to make their developments more pet-friendly should make sure they take various factors into account.
Courtesy of the South African Companion Animal Council (SACAC), here are some guidelines for pet-friendly developments, estates, townhouse complexes and gated communities.
- Meet the needs of pet owners and non-pet owners alike.
- Make provision for homeowners who keep pets and promote socially responsible pet ownership.
- Include in the deed of sale and any rental agreement a section that clearly states the reasonable and consistent rules, complaints procedures, dispute resolution and penalties regarding the keeping of any animal, to which all residents and owners must subscribe.
- Ensure that all rules comply with local municipal by-laws
- Employ the services of a qualified animal behaviour specialist or vet to set up a reasonable set of conditions applicable to the specific complex and to help solve and prevent problem cases.
- Insist on sterilisation of all pets and annual vaccinations with written proof i.e. veterinary certificates. Socialisation classes should be mandatory for all new puppies and dogs.
- All animals should be clearly identified or tagged externally (collar) and micro-chipped
- Supply sealed waste disposal containers and plastic bags/gloves for the removal of faeces in all public spaces. An additional pet-owner levy can be considered to fund pet-specific requirements.
- All dogs should be kept on leads when in public spaces. Larger estates may provide an enclosed off-lead area for dogs for use by informed and responsible pet owners.
- DO NOT allow the feeding of stray or feral animals unless the whole Body Corporate supports a capture and sterilisation campaign.
A harmonious board of trustees results in a happy community will ensure a good name for the development and units will become more and more sought after. And including some pet-friendly policies could help you and your residents live in perfect harmony.
At PropertyFox, whether you’re investing in a residential estate or in a single standing home in a lush suburb, we are more than happy to take you through the process for only 1.5% commission. Contact us today and we will take from there.