The petiquette of Sectional Title

The question of pets in Sectional Title (ST) schemes remains a contentious one, and is often the source of heated debate between members of the body corporate – despite the fact that the matter is clearly dealt with in the very first of the standard conduct rules.
These rules apply in all ST schemes unless they are specifically amended by the developer before establishment, or by the body corporate after establishment, and unless those amendments have been filed at the Deeds Office, notes Andrew Schaefer, MD of the leading national property management company Trafalgar.
And the first conduct rule states, in part, that “an owner or occupier of a section shall not, without the consent in writing of the trustees, which approval may not unreasonably be withheld, keep any animal, reptile or bird in a section or on the common property”.
“It also says, however, that the trustees may impose reasonable conditions on pet owners and may withdraw their consent if the conditions are not met. The practical effect of this is that, in the absence of an amended rule, the trustees of the body corporate must grant a pet owner's request to keep their pets, unless there are very good reasons not to do so – and also that that the pet owner must keep to any conditions set by the trustees.”
What is more, Schaefer says, there have been four court rulings since 1997 that make the situation even clearer in schemes where the conduct rules have not been amended.
“In one, made in the Pretoria High Court, the judge ruled that the trustees of a scheme had acted unreasonably in refusing permission for an apartment owner to keep three cats. The applicant had very sound reasons for wanting to keep the cats and had agreed that they would be confined to the flat. The judge also ordered the body corporate to pay costs.”
There are similar cases on record, he says, concerning high-rise ST schemes in Durban and Amanzimtoti, and the effect of these rulings is that every application to keep a pet has to be treated on its merits. “What is more, trustees do need to consider the question of pets with some sensitivity, especially in cases where a pet is the only companion that an elderly person has.
“On the other hand, pet owners must take into account that roaming cats and constantly barking dogs can be a genuine source of annoyance and disturbance to other residents, and that they need to keep to any conditions imposed by the trustees or risk having the permission to keep their animals withdrawn.”
In addition, says Schaefer, in ST schemes that have properly amended the pets' rule to ban all or certain types of pets, or limit the number of pets that an owner may keep, the trustees have no choice but to follow the new rule – no matter what they may personally think of a resident’s pleas to bend it.
“The end result is that it is very important for pet owners to check, before they buy or rent in a particular ST scheme whether they will be allowed to keep pets there - and under what conditions.
“Similarly, it is up to those who would prefer to live in a pet-free scheme to ensure that they choose one where the conduct rule dealing with pets has been properly amended to exclude the keeping of animals.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 22 Jun 2018
      The rental market in many Johannesburg suburbs has shown encouraging signs of revival this year but it remains a competitive market and landlords who best cater to their market’s needs will reap the healthiest returns.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      Home design is constantly evolving to reflect the changing needs of society. We look at some of the ways in which our use of space is changing.
    • 22 Jun 2018
      While estate agents can help the seller with correctly pricing the property and marketing a property to the right pool of potential buyers, at the end of the day it’s the impression that the property will make on buyers that counts the most.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      Anyone who’s ever been involved in a building project that’s gone wrong will appreciate the importance of adequate insurance cover in the construction industry.
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A recent news story about a blind tenant caught in a legal battle with his body corporate over letters and notices he was unable to read and consequently comply with has raised the question: what are the legal obligations for landlords with disabled tenants?
    • 21 Jun 2018
      A trend that’s taken the world by storm in recent years is that of hygge (pronounced: hue-guh), a Danish concept that is about creating intimacy, connecting with loved ones and taking pleasure in small, ordinary things.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      Buying or selling real estate isn’t as easy as it is portrayed sometimes, especially if there is a death of a party during the transaction which can make it awkward, tricky and inconvenient.
    • 20 Jun 2018
      With interest rates remaining at historic lows and banks continuing to compete for mortgage finance business, first-time buyers with funds at their disposal are currently well-placed to gain that initial foothold on the property ladder, particularly in the light of the slightly lower growth rates currently experienced in residential property values.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us