Property Poser: Visitors Need Permission to Bring Pets Into Complex

www.MyPE.co.za: Our
panel has received an e-mail from a reader who has been a tenant in a
sectional title complex for more than three years.

She says when she moved in there were no rules that forbade the owning
or the visiting of people with pets.

Certain members of the body corporate have now decided that her
parents, who bring their two small, well-trained Pomeranian dogs along
when they visit, may no longer do so.

She says this was only communicated in the monthly newsletter and is
not included in the official “house rules”.

Her landlord, she says, has no problem with the dogs and she wants to
know what her rights are.

Sonet Pieterse from Sonet
Pieterse Attorneys & Conveyancers
in
Port Elizabeth says, in terms of Section 35(1) of the Sectional Titles
Act No 95 of 1986, sectional title schemes are managed and controlled
by rules. “The standard conduct rules state that an owner or occupier
may only keep pets if he or she obtains written permission from the
trustees.”

She says trustees may not unreasonably withhold their consent, but they
may impose certain conditions or restrictions. “If the owner or
occupier does not comply with these conditions, consent may be
withdrawn.”

Pieterse says the act states that the duties of the owner in relation
to the use and occupation of sections and common property will be
binding on the owner as well as any lessee or other occupant.

According to her, it is the duty of the owner to ensure compliance with
the rules by his or her lessee or occupant, including their employees,
guests and family members.

“Owners may also decide to include a rule that addresses the question
of visitors,” says Pieterse. “Such a rule may, among other things,
restrict the number of visitors, the length of their stay as well as
whether they may bring pets along.”

Verity Bigara from Rawson
Properties
Port Elizabeth says should there
be special circumstances surrounding a visitor’s stay, it will be
necessary for the owners or occupiers to approach the trustees for
whatever permission may be necessary.

“If one assumes that the scheme where the reader resides is controlled
by the standard rules, whereby it is necessary to obtain the permission
of the trustees to keep pets, it would have been a requirement for her
to obtain permission for her parents to bring along their pets.”

Bigara says the fact that permission was granted in the past, or if no
objections were raised against the dogs if no prior permission was
obtained, will not prevent the trustees from refusing permission in the
future.

“The reader states the body corporate ‘suddenly decided’ that her
parents may no longer bring their dogs along. It may therefore very
likely be that complaints were received from other owners and that this
matter was dealt with at the annual general meeting, where the decision
to impose the restriction was taken.”

Even though the reader feels that the dogs are well-trained, it may be
that the other owners and occupiers were disturbed by their presence,
says Bigara.

“Although it is possible that an owner or occupier is unreasonably
sensitive, the fact of the matter is that their rights as owners or
occupiers will weigh more heavily than those of a visitor.”

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courtesy of Coetzee Gouws from Full
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