In Australia in 2016, more people than ever before are living close together in apartment buildings, units and duplexes. Having neighbours in close proximity is great for security and cost sharing, but it can be difficult if some of them are uncaring about how their actions impact on others. Building bylaws seek to control these behaviours including the keeping of pets in group-living situations. Some buildings will allow them, but many will not.
Doing Things the Right Way
Our strata managers have seen this from both sides. WA Strata Management has many years of experience at managing these situations, so we can offer advice for pet owners wishing to secure permission from strata councils to keep pets. The old saying that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about everything is very applicable to what can become an emotional issue.
Seek Permission Before Signing Anything
The right way is to seek permission to keep pets before signing any lease or contract of sale. Do this in writing and keep records in case of a dispute. Give all the details about the pet so a council can make an informed decision. Describe the pet including its size, age, appearance and temperament. Its temperament will be the main issue, as we find this to be the source of many complaints.
Provide Evidence of Responsible Pet Ownership
Mention indicators of responsible pet ownership such as certificates for vaccination, de-sexing and micro-chipping, as well as pet registration from local authorities. If you have previously kept your pet in rental properties, especially group schemes, get references from those locations and include them in the application.
Is Owner Behaviour an Issue? You Bet!
Now let’s talk about your behaviour. We have seen many situations where the pet is not the problem, but the owner. If your pet soils the common areas, pick up after it and clean up the residue. Get prompt professional attention for a flea problem. Don’t wait for the little blighters to infest adjacent areas. Keep your pet and their bedding clean and odour free, and if you leave food and water bowls outside on a balcony, wash them every day to keep away flies and cockroaches.
How Does the Pet Feel About Group Living?
Understand there are some animals that, for their psychological well-being, should not be confined. Keeping a hyperactive breed of dog in an apartment will always be a problem. Often, size is not the issue, as a greyhound, for example, will lie quietly all day provided it is regularly walked. It is more a question, as we mentioned earlier, of temperament.
While dogs and cats are still the most popular pets we keep here in Australia, people looking for easy-care pets are also choosing fish, birds and increasingly, reptiles. It really is a matter of caring about the comfort of your neighbours as much as you care for your pets.