Living in an apartment or townhouse can be a great option for many people, but when it comes to having pets, it can be a bit trickier than with a stand-alone property.
Pets are an important part of many people’s lives. Aussies in particular are keen pet owners with our country having some of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world, but there are several things to consider if you plan on keeping an animal in an apartment.
In this article, we will discuss what apartment owners and tenants should consider when getting a pet, as well as strategies to deal with common issues.
- Check with Your Buildings By-laws (Rules and Regulations)
Before getting a pet, it’s important to check with your building’s rules and regulations regarding pets. From March 2021, new legislation has been passed that prohibits blanket pet bans in strata-titled buildings in Queensland.
This means that body corporate rules can no longer completely prohibit pets in apartment buildings, but they can still impose reasonable conditions on pet ownership.
These rules and conditions on pet ownership could include such things as requiring pets to be kept on a leash on common property, prohibiting pets from certain common, recreation areas, or requiring pets to be registered with the body corporate. These conditions are intended to help ensure that pets are well-behaved and do not cause a nuisance to other residents.
It’s important to make sure you know and understand these rules before considering bringing a pet into your apartment.
- Consider Your Pet’s Needs
When considering getting a pet, it’s important to think about their needs. Different pets have different needs, and it’s important to make sure you can meet them in an apartment setting. For example, dogs require regular exercise and outdoor time, so it’s important to make sure you can provide them with enough exercise and outdoor time within the constraints of your apartment building. Additionally, some pets may be more suited to apartment living than others. Cats, for example, are generally well-suited to apartment living, while very active dogs may struggle in a smaller space.
- Address Noise Issues
One common issue with pets in apartment buildings is noise. Barking dogs or meowing cats can disturb neighbours, especially if they are left alone for long periods of time. To address this issue, it’s important to train your pet to be quiet and to make sure they have plenty of stimulation when you’re not home. Consider leaving on a TV or radio to provide background noise, and provide your pet with plenty of toys and treats to keep them occupied.
- Address Odour Issues
Another common issue with pets in apartment buildings is odour. Pets can produce unpleasant odours, especially if they aren’t groomed regularly or if their litter box isn’t cleaned frequently. To address this issue, make sure you groom your pet regularly and clean their litter box or cage frequently. Additionally, consider using odour-neutralizing sprays or air fresheners to help keep your apartment smelling fresh.
- Consider Your Neighbours
Finally, it’s important to consider your neighbours when getting a pet. Some people may have allergies or phobias related to pets, so it’s important to be considerate of their needs. Additionally, it’s important to make sure your pet doesn’t disturb your neighbours. Make sure your pet is well-behaved and doesn’t bark or meow excessively, and keep them on a leash when you’re outside of your apartment.
While new laws may make it easier for apartment residents to own pets, it’s still important for residents to consider the needs of their pets and their neighbours.
Pets in apartment buildings need to be well-trained and well-behaved, and their owners need to take responsibility for their pets’ behaviour. Additionally, residents who do not own pets need to be respectful of their neighbours who do, and work together to ensure that everyone can live happily and harmoniously in the building.
By following the tips outlined above, you can help ensure that you and your pet have a happy and harmonious life in your apartment building.
At Stratacare, we understand the importance of pets in people’s lives as well as the challenges that they may present and are happy to help answer any questions you may have about pets in your building.
Reasonable Conditions on Pets
As mentioned, while blanket pet bans are no longer allowed in Queensland, body corporate rules can still impose reasonable conditions on pet ownership in apartment buildings. Here are some examples of reasonable restrictions that a body corporate may consider including in their rules and by-laws:
- Size and number of pets: While a body corporate can no longer completely ban pets, they may still impose restrictions on the number of pets allowed per unit. For example, they may limit the number of pets to two per unit. In the past, it was also quite common for a body corporate to impose weight and size restrictions on pets. In recent years, restrictions such as these have been successfully challenged as being unreasonable and arbitrary on a number of occasions in QLD, as weight and size often have no bearing on a pet’s behaviour and suitability for strata living.
- Leash requirements: A body corporate may require all pets to be kept on a leash or contained in a carrier when in common areas or outside the unit. This can help ensure the safety of other residents and their pets.
- Noise restrictions: A body corporate may require pet owners to take measures to control excessive noise from their pets, such as barking dogs or meowing cats. This could include training, providing toys and entertainment to pets when the owner is away, bark control devices, or seeking professional assistance to address problem behaviour.
- Cleaning requirements: A body corporate will require pet owners to clean up after their pets, including picking up any pet waste immediately and keeping litter boxes clean and odour-free. This is to help ensure that the common areas of the building remain clean and hygienic.
- Registration requirements: A body corporate will likely require pet owners to register their pets with the body corporate, including providing proof of local council registration, vaccinations and other necessary health information. This can help ensure that all pets in the building are healthy and well-cared-for.
These are just a few examples of reasonable restrictions that a body corporate may consider including in their rules and by-laws regarding pets in apartment buildings. It’s important to note that any restrictions should be reasonable and proportionate to the potential impacts of pet ownership on the building and its residents. Additionally, these restrictions should be clearly communicated to all residents to ensure that everyone is aware of the expectations regarding pet ownership in the building.
Pets and Noise
Noise is often cited as one of the primary concerns when it comes to allowing pets in apartment buildings.
Barking dogs, meowing cats, and other noisy pets can be a major source of annoyance for other residents, and can even lead to conflicts between neighbours.
However, it’s important to note that a body corporate in Queensland has the ability to deal with excessive noise no matter what the source. This means that strengthening by-laws around noise may be a more effective solution than simply trying to exclude pets altogether.
By imposing clear rules around noise and holding pet owners accountable for excessive noise levels, a body corporate can help ensure that all residents are able to enjoy their homes without being disrupted by noisy pets.
This may include requiring pet owners to take steps to control excessive barking or meowing, such as seeking professional training or using anti-bark collars. Ultimately, by taking a proactive approach to managing pet-related noise issues, a body corporate can help promote harmonious living in apartment buildings while still allowing residents to enjoy the many benefits of pet ownership.
Positives for Allowing Pets in Apartment Buildings
Allowing pets in apartment buildings can have a number of positive benefits for both the residents and the building as a whole. Here are some of the potential benefits of allowing pets in apartments:
- Improved mental health: Pets can have a positive impact on mental health by reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. This can be particularly beneficial for residents who live alone or who may be experiencing feelings of isolation.
- Increased sense of community: Pets can help bring residents together and foster a sense of community in the building. Pet owners may interact more with their neighbours as they walk their dogs or take their pets to the park, and may even form friendships with other pet owners in the building.
- Increased occupancy rates: Allowing pets can make the building more attractive to potential renters or buyers who have pets. This can help increase occupancy rates and may also lead to higher rental or sale prices for units in the building.
- Increased exercise and outdoor time: Pet ownership can encourage residents to get outside and exercise more, particularly if they have a dog that needs to be walked regularly. This can help promote overall health and well-being for both the pets and their owners.
- Decreased stress on animal shelters: Allowing pets in apartments can help decrease the number of pets that end up in animal shelters or on the streets. This is because residents who are able to keep their pets in their apartments are less likely to give them up for adoption or abandon them.
These are just a few examples of the potential benefits of allowing pets in apartment buildings. While there are certainly some challenges that come with pet ownership in a multi-unit building, many people find that the benefits of pet ownership far outweigh any potential drawbacks.