Living With Pets in Condos: Know Your Rights (Part 1)

Living With Pets in Condos: Know Your Rights (Part 1)

In an age where some urbanites are not as keen as their pre-millennial counterparts to go forth and multiply, people still crave a companion to love and cherish and eliminate boredom.

And when all else fails (awkward speed-dating sessions, unproductive Tinder dates that only end in disappointments, late-night rants at the mamak, et cetera), that leaves us with getting a pet who will share our joy and sadness conditionally (providing you supply a bottomless pool of food and cuddles).

In Malaysia, it’s not uncommon to find residents living happily with their pets in apartments and other non-landed properties. However, it has not always been so. Read on as we break down the legal lingo for you guys.

 

Wait, aren’t pets banned from apartments and condos?

Yes and no. Before June 2015, it was understood that pets are not allowed in apartments or condos. This is thanks to the Deed of Mutual Covenants, a guideline that oversees the governance of all strata parcels in the country. The DMC is like a taikor (big brother) of sorts where he outlined the do’s and don’ts in a strata community, including the prohibitions of keeping pets in high-rises.

During the time that the DMC exerted its full power, pet owners tip-toed around this restrictive regulation. They would have to sneak the hapless animals into their abodes, past ever-vigilant security guards and can only hope not to be reported by nosy neighbors. And if the going gets tough (read: condo management complaints), the tough resort to giving away their furry friends (hey, is IS tough to do that alright?).

But! After that tumultuous reign of the DMC, the Strata Management Act (something like a bigger taikor) underwent several amendments. Let’s skip the boring legal jargon and get to the meaty part:

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So, what you see here is the By-Law 14 in the Third Schedule of the Strata Management (Maintenance & Management) Regulations 2015. It does not prohibit the keeping the pets in high-rises, and therefore marks the end of the old DMC along with old restrictions concerning pet-rearing in condos and apartments.

pretam.jpg

Us non-lawyers were deeply grateful when Dato’ Pretam Singh of Pretam Singh, Nor & Co. firm stood up to point out the obvious changes that affect pet owners living in high-rises and what the amendments mean to them.

In other words, gone are the laws that prohibit high-rise residents from keeping pets in their condos or apartments.

 

Is there a catch?

Yes, there is. You really didn’t expect to have one taikor eliminated, leaving no one behind to govern, did you? There are two things to remember:

a) When the By-law 14 was enacted, condo and apartment residents are allowed to keep their furry friends with them, UNLESS if they “cause annoyance and nuisance to other proprietors” (more about this soon).

b) Residents also need to comply with the laws enacted by the local authorities, like DBKL, who made it clear that they are okay with dogs in the small or toy breed category to be kept in condos and apartments. By-law 2 states that “small” points to breeds like the Miniature Pinscher, Bichon Frise, Pekingese, Papillon, Poodle (Toy), Japanese Chin, Maltese, Pomeranian, Chihuahua. There are also restrictions as to what breed of dogs are controlled or disallowed. Controlled breeds include the Rottweiler, Doberman, German Shepard / Alsatian, Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier and the Perro de Presa Canario (a.k.a. Canary Dog). Meanwhile, breeds that are prohibited to be kept include Pitt Bulls, American Bulldog, Neapolitan Mastiff, Japanese Tosa, Akita, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Braziliero.

Now, what’s this about “annoyance and nuisance”?

According to Dato’ Pretam Singh, “nuisance” is defined as ““an inconvenience materially interfering with the ordinary physical comfort of human existence”. Note the term “physical discomfort”, which may refer to examples like excessive noise, dust or a flooded toilet.

Meanwhile, “annoyance” may refer to something that “reasonably troubles the mind and pleasure”, and can be summed up as a state that does not cause “physical detriment to comfort”. Note the word “physical”.

So when you put these two terms together, you can pretty much apply it accordingly to pets and learn how to co-exist with your neighbors without having your furkids cause a nuisance or be a source of annoyance.

How do you do that?

  • Clean up after your pets if you decide to take them for a walk. Gloves and poop bags by the door will definitely come in handy.
  • Spend time training your dog to behave appropriately. If you treat them like a part of your family, you’ll definitely want them to be at their best behavior, hence eliminating excessive barking.
  • Keep your pets on a leash when outdoors.

What if my condo management has issues with my pet?

Check the local council laws first, and see if you’re flouting any rules. If not, you may want to proceed with filing your case at the Strata Management Tribunal here.

So there you have it – a guide that reinforces your right as a pet owner living in a condo or apartment in Malaysia. But having a pet in a high-rise residence also means shouldering the responsibilities that come with owning one, so do select a pet that would suit your home and lifestyle. A pet is for life, and should rightly be considered a member of your family.

Tip: If you’re a pet lover who’s unable to have pets at home, why not consider volunteering at a pet shelter near you? There are lots of furry friends out there who would love all the hugs and care you can give in your free time.

Watch out for Part 2 of this article series as we discuss living with pets in condos and making it work.

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