The rules for keeping pets in a sectional title scheme are governed by the Prescribed Conduct Rule (PCR) 1 of the Sectional Title Schemes Management Act.
The PCR 1 stipulates that no occupant of a sectional title scheme may keep a pet without the written consent of the trustee. Permission to keep a pet in a sectional title scheme must not be unreasonably withheld.
Trustees should take care when granting an owner or occupier permission to keep a pet and should not be hasty nor unreasonable in their decision.
In the same breath, trustees should take care when withdrawing consent to keep a pet in a sectional title by making sure they adhere to the protocol regarding withdrawal of consent.
Keeping pets in a sectional title is not a right and is only allowed on special application to the body corporate.
Therefore, should the owner of the pet be in breach of any of the reasonable conditions stipulated by the trustees, the trustees are in their right to withdraw such consent.
The withdrawal of consent can only be done under the following reasonable circumstances:
Before officially withdrawing their consent, trustees must ensure that they make themselves aware of all the circumstances related to the breach.
Furthermore, the trustees must give the owner or occupier a reasonable opportunity to present their case. In addition, the owner must be given the following:
The decision to withdraw consent must be made by majority vote and the decision must be minuted.
The owner or occupier must then be given written notice of the withdrawal and a reasonable amount of time to remove the pet from the premises.
Once the decision has been made to withdraw consent following the correct process, the owner of the pet is no longer entitled to carry on keeping that pet.
However, the body corporate is not allowed to forcibly remove a pet from any person’s possession.
In a case where an owner refuses to remove the pet from the premises, the trustees will have to obtain an adjudication order from the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) for the removal of the pet.
Section 38 of the CSOS Act states that any person can make an application to the CSOS if they are affected by a dispute.
Therefore, the body corporate can make an application to the CSOS which declares a dispute against the owner who has continued to keep the pet in the scheme regardless of the withdrawal of consent.
The application must include statements stating the following:
The following are considered prayers for relief as stipulated in section 39 of the CSOS Act:
Assistance from the local SPCA may also be asked for in the case of too many pets being kept in an inadequate amount of space.
The SPCA can conduct an inspection and if they find that the animals are being kept in compromising conditions, they can begin the legal process to have such animals removed.
In cases where the trustees wish to remove a service dog which is not shown to be causing a nuisance or hazard to other occupants, such an application will be deemed unreasonable.
We provide professional legal advice and assistance with regards to keeping pets in a sectional title scheme in South Africa.
For more information about property law in South Africa, including sectional title scheme rules, contact our attorneys.
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