Advice and Opinion

Demand for pet-friendly living in SA on the rise

It is becoming increasingly difficult for owners and occupants to keep pets in sectional title developments, due to limited space and concerns over nuisance pets. According to Carl Smit, Managing Director of Sandak-Lewin Property Trust as such, pet-friendly sectional title developments are in demand and many owners and occupants are willing to pay more for pet-friendly sectional title units.

“Pet-friendly developments in South Africa are very sought after and inherently have a positive influence on property value. While they are a draw card for animal lovers, finding a pet-friendly sectional title developments are hard to come by, especially in new developments which are a lot smaller in size in comparison with older developments, are in close proximity to other units, contain very little or no common gardens and are simply not ideal places to keep pets.” He points to a guide titled Pets In The City, prepared by Petcare Information and Advisory Service (PIAS) in Australia, which determined that people are willing to pay 5-10% more when buying pet-friendly property and that estate agents reported a 50% increase in buyer interest if a property for sale is advertised as pet-friendly.

“The reason for the absence of pet-friendly sectional title developments include non-pet owners not being willing to put up with the noise pollution from pets or deal with pet related disputes such as pets disturbing the neighbours, damage to property, odours and loss of other tenants, and that it is for these reasons that many complexes are not pet-friendly”.

“Common problems experienced in pet-friendly developments include unneutered pets causing trouble, cats which climb through windows and spray in houses, barking dogs, unleashed dogs which roam around the common property freely and owners who fail to pick up pet faeces.”

Smit advises pet owners to sell themselves as responsible neighbours who are able to look after their animals and abide by the rules set out by the trustees. He says that if trustees do allow pets, conditions are usually set. “Should conditions not be adhered to, the owner or occupant will be sent a written notification stating the breach of the rules, and be requested to remove the pet within a specified timeframe. Thereafter, trustees have recourse in terms of the management rules of the Sectional Title Act to refer the matter to arbitration. Not only will the pet have to be removed, but the owner will be responsible for all the costs of the arbitration,” he concludes.