For the love of dogs (and cats)
Insights Team, May 6, 2019

The facts say it all: having a pet is good for our health. Just petting or stroking an animal may lower blood pressure and is also good for our hearts. Experts say pets also reduce stress, improve our mood and encourage us to exercise. So what are the rules when it comes to keeping pets in residential complexes?

Pet-lovers who are planning to move into a residential estate or complex need to do their homework. There are rules and regulations when it comes to keeping pets in sectional title units and communal estates, so it’s good to do your research before buying a property.

It’s best to avoid any potential legal disputes as the ultimate goal of gated residential living is a happy community. According to the National Council of SPCAs, problems with housing is one of the most frequent reasons given when a pet is handed in.

Always ask your property expert about pet requirements. Sectional title schemes’ body corporates may limit pet ownership – and even reject pets altogether. Most have restrictions – in terms of the type of breeds, size of pets, etc.

According to the Sectional Titles Act, all residents need consent to keep a pet. This may require a written application and written consent. Then the trustees have “reasonable conditions” that need to be followed – this could be things like walking dogs on a leash, pet identification and cleaning up after pets.

There are also municipal bylaws limiting the number of animals a homeowner may keep, and these are:
Sectional title: a maximum of two dogs;
Freestanding property: three dogs;
Plots: four dogs;
Farms: six dogs; and
Cats: no more than four on a residential property and six on a farm.

Home Owners Associations (HOAs) may also restrict the keeping of pets but they usually govern free-standing homes, so they tend to be more pet-friendly. HOAs aim to keep the peace. The idea is that each resident has the right to enjoy nuisance-free living. Behaviour like constant barking would be deemed a nuisance.

Some lawyers claim residents tend to be either totally for keeping pets, or dead against any animal noises (like barking, howling or whining). Then there are those who are not fazed either way – as long as pets don’t cause them any trouble.

Refusal to allow a pet is based on “reasonable grounds”. A body corporate may not forcibly remove a pet from its owner. This requires a court order.

If there is a complaint, then the owner must be given notice to remedy the situation. If the problem is not resolved, the owner must be given “reasonable time” to remove the pet. The owner is entitled to take disputes to court but it’s always best to be amicable and to work towards a positive outcome.

So if you are looking at buying into a residential estate, make sure you ask all the right questions first. If it’s one of our properties, ask your Leadhome property expert for advice early on in the process, and know your rights (and the rights of your furry companions).

Once you have done the deed and moved into your new abode, here are some ways to make it work for both you (and your pet) and your neighbours.

Keep your pet happy at home by:
• Supplying suitable food, clean drinking water and a place to sleep that offers protection from the elements, as well as ventilation.
• If your pet sleeps outside, making sure it has enough shelter – in a kennel under an awning or extended roof structure.
• Dogs should not be left alone for longer than four hours, according to the UK Canine & Feline Behaviour Association.
• Walk your dog regularly to make sure they exert some of that pent-up energy.
• If your pet is particularly restless soon after the move, talk to your vet about calming measures to ensure the peace.
• Spend quality time together!

Insights Team
We're the "thinking arm" of Leadhome, combining expertise in data analysis, modelling, sociology, geography, and philosophy to interrogate current trends in the South African residential property market. Proudly contemplative since 2015.

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