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Pets in sectional title schemes


Pets in sectional title schemes

Category Legal Update


Often the conduct rules of the scheme follow the default rules laid down by the legislature in the Sectional Titles Act. From these rules, Prescribed Conduct Rule 1 deals with the keeping of pets and determines that an owner or occupier shall not without the written consent of the trustees, which approval may not unreasonably be withheld, keep any animal, reptile or bird in a section or on the common property.

When granting such approval, the trustees may prescribe any reasonable condition and the approval may be withdrawn if the owner or occupier breaches the condition.

The wording of Prescribed Conduct Rule 1 implies that any application to keep a pet must be fairly considered by the trustees, and they cannot refuse permission without assessing the details of the individual application. If consent to keep a pet is refused, the trustees must be able to indicate why this was the outcome, to show that their decision was not unreasonable.

Note though that the standard Conduct Rules can be altered, either by the developer before establishment of the scheme, or more usually by the body corporate of the scheme after establishment, and may therefore differ from the default position stated above. It is therefore possible for some schemes to have a policy generally prohibiting the keeping of any pets (reasonable exceptions being allowed, such as allowing a blind person to keep a guide dog) or a policy limiting the pets allowed with regard to size and/or type. In such an instance, the specific rule must be studied to ascertain what the position is in the relevant scheme.

Remember too that if a scheme seeks to amend the rules to adopt a “no pets” rule as an amendment to Prescribed Conduct Rule 1, the body corporate would need to pass a special resolution to this effect and have this filed at the Deeds Registry; but because all rules must be reasonable, the new rule must take into consideration the vested rights of owners who already have pets at the scheme. The resolution will generally not have the effect of taking rights away from those in whom they are already vested and those who had pets cannot be made to get rid of them. However, once those pets die they should not be entitled to replace them.

Source- STBB

Author Source- STBB
Published 27 May 2015 / Views -
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