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The importance of consent concerning pets in sectional title

In order for an owner to be able to lawfully keep a pet on the property, they need written consent from the trustees of the body corporate, and the trustees may not unreasonably withhold such consent.

Conditions

The trustees may impose any reasonable conditions for the pet to stay on the property and when such conditions are breached, the trustees will be in a position to withdraw their consent. Such conditions may include that the owner ensures the pet is kept on a lead when on the common property.

Guide dogs

Having a pet on the property is not an absolute right and, in most cases, residential complexes are bound by the Sectional Titles Act.  When an owner has a disability and requires the assistance of a guide dog, they are considered to have the consent of the trustees to keep such a dog on the property but the guide dog has to be accompanied when it is on the common property to ensure that it does not become a nuisance to the other occupiers or cause a disturbance.

The onus is on the owner or occupier to apply for written consent from the trustees to keep a pet, prior to bringing the pet onto the property.  If an owner was informed of the rules of the complex prior to moving in and they move in with a pet for which they did not receive prior consent, the body corporate has the right to demand that the pet be removed as long as they follow the correct protocol.

No pets rule

If a scheme has the prescribed rules and wants to adopt a “no pets” rule as an amendment to Prescribed Conduct Rule 1, this could only be done by the body corporate by passing a special resolution amending PCR 1 and having this registered.  As all rules must be reasonable, the new rule must take into consideration the vested rights of owners who already have pets at the scheme. Trustees cannot make those who have pets get rid of them, but once those pets pass away, they will not be able to replace them.

It is important that the trustees consider every pet request equally and impose reasonable conditions; this power cannot be delegated to the managing agent.

Author: Danielle Crewe – Sectional Title Senior Manager

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