Estates and apartment blocks have traditionally had restrictions relating to pets, but now many developments are allowing residents to have four legged friends as long as the friend in question is well behaved. For many people, home is where the pets are. But as more South Africans turn to the security and lifestyle of estates or urban apartment blocks, they find themselves faced with pet restrictions. Fortunately a number of developers have recognised that people need the companionship of their pets and have made their estates or apartment complexes pet friendly. "When you are looking to relocate to a new home and you already have animals, you have to be fair to the animal in question and ask yourself if the property solution is appropriate for that specific animal type," says Jessica Hofmeyr, Century Property Developments executive in charge of sales, rentals, marketing and operations. Balwin Properties has also jumped on the pet friendly bandwagon. From secure estate Paardevlei Square's upmarket apartments in Somerset West to the one to three bedroom apartments in Ballito Hills on the KwaZulu Natal north coast, all the developer's estates are pet friendly. At Century Property Developments, we believe that all forms of accommodation can house a pet but it is the type of accommodation that should dictate what sort of animal is kept on the premises," says Hofmeyr.
While cats can live in smaller apartments, many apartment blocks have high traffic volumes, which could present a danger to pets, she says. Dogs, however, need a garden or lawn where they can roam freely and so should have a ground floor property or freestanding house. "We allow animals at all our estates except The Campus in Auckland Park, which is a student accommodation development." Hofmeyr says that the most important rule is that pets may not cause discomfort to neighbouring residents. "In some of our estates, we even have 'leash free' parks to allow dogs to play with one another off the lead," says Hofmeyr. "Waterfall Estate hosts several walks for residents and their dogs along more than 13km of walking trails."
Chris Cilliers, CEO and Principal for Lew Geffen Sotheby's International Realty in the Cape Winelands, says millennials often have children later in life and start out with a pet instead. Older people may have kept animals for a long time and don't want to part with them when they are scaling down, she says. "Many new developments are prepared to provide the facilities for animals to be exercised." For example, Cilliers says that Val de Vie, on the outskirts of Paarl in the Western Cape, has allocated land to dog parks where the pets can be let off the leash to socialise with other dogs. In the rest of the estate they are required to be leashed.
Pam Golding Properties Pretoria is finalising the pre launch offering for a new development, Roundabout Brooklyn, a pet friendly apartment building with units priced between R1.9m and R5.9m. "People want to bring their furry kids along when they either scale down or invest in a new apartment living lifestyle," says regional executive Retha Schutte.
Helga Clemo, Seeff Properties MD for Cape Town's Century City area, says that while it is easy to accommodate the needs of pet owners on large freehold properties, buyers and tenants need to be upfront about their needs when it comes to high density apartment areas. "In the Century City area, for example, you can find pet friendly accommodation, but only six out of 19 schemes are suited to this," she says. Seeff sales manager for the area Adrian Louw says that at 78m2 for a two bedroomed apartment, the accommodation is fine for cats, but dog owners would be better advised to invest in a home on one of the estates. "The pet friendly complexes tend to restrict it to one cat or dog with only Villa Italia permitting two cats and dogs." Other pet friendly complexes in the area include The Island Club, Century View Estate and Waterstone Isles Estate.
RE MAX Living sales associate David Spence says Cape Town is not particularly pet friendly on the Atlantic Seaboard. "Cape Town in general is not the most pet friendly city in SA, in terms of accommodation. A quick look at the body corporate rules on apartment blocks on the Atlantic Seaboard will tell you that about 90% of the older, more traditional blocks or complexes do not allow dogs, or they are allowed only by special permission'," he says. Seeff Atlantic Seaboard agents Adrian Mauerberger and Cecily Sher say The Avenues in Fresnaye is pet friendly. Buyers can expect to pay R9.95m for a three bedroom home in the secure complex with a communal pool, tennis and squash courts, clubhouse and a gymnasium.
Pet friendly apartment blocks in Sea Point include Le Village in Oldfield Road and 23 Arthurs Road. Seeff agents say you would pay between R3.5m and R4m for a two bedroom property. Buyers should check the sectional title scheme rules most complexes require buyers to obtain prior permission for keeping pets. Caroline O'Rahilly, Seeff sectional title agent for Rondebosch, Rosebank and Mowbray, notes that there are some pet friendly complexes in the area such as Halevery Holt small dogs and cats , Hermitage cats only , Green Park small dogs and cats and Newlands Court cats only . Most blocks will make provision for indoor cats, but the number of complexes that admit dogs is limited. Prices for apartments in the area range between Rl.5m and R2.5m. Westbrook, a multigenerational lifestyle development in Port Elizabeth, says the estate's pet policy has the best interests of its residents at heart. "In fact we see pets in the same light as children," says estate MD Clifford Oosthuizen.
Cilliers says many retirement villages with freestanding houses or townhouses with a garden do not object to a small dog or cat. Even larger dogs may be allowed, on the understanding that they will not be replaced with another large dog when the animal dies. The pet friendly Lazuli Lifestyle & Retirement Estate offers a luxury secure private lifestyle for people of 50 and older. Neighbouring Zimbali resort on the KwaZulu Natal north coast, Lazuli allows one medium sized dog on each property any other pet requests are subject to special approval. "Whether it is millennials starting out in their first property, baby boomers looking to downscale or retirees making a move to a retirement development, global research shows that these buyers want pet friendly properties, especially those that can accommodate a cat or small to medium sized dog," says Evergreen Lifestyle CEO Arthur Case. Evergreen began making accommodation for this 10 years ago and is a pet friendly retirement brand. Case says he believes that seniors with pets live longer and happier lives.
Waterfall Hills Mature Lifestyle Estate and Waterfall Valley Mature Lifestyle Estate are developments by Century Property Developers that accommodate pets. "From our research, we have seen that retirees with a sense of responsibility towards something, such as a pet, lead happier and healthier lifestyles," says Hofmeyr. Heritage Estate in Modderfontein in the East Rand is a pet friendly sectional title mature lifestyle estate for over 50s. It has communal grounds, but no additional pet friendly features. Pam Golding Properties Johannesburg development manager Peet Strauss explains why it appeals. "Apart from wanting to make a sound investment in an appreciating asset, they seek a flexible lifestyle that provides freedom, while living within a likeminded residential community with medical facilities on hand," he says.
TYPICAL ESTATE PET SPECS
Jessica Hofmeyr, Century Property Developments: Our guidelines are simple: no more than two pets in a household with a garden. In ground floor apartments, dogs should not exceed 60cm in height. All of our cluster houses and freestanding homes can accommodate normal sized dogs. We prefer all cats to be sterilised.
Retha Schutte, Pam Golding Properties Pretoria regional executive: In Pretoria's Roundabout Brooklyn apartment block a pet interview is one of the contract conditions to establish if the pet will adapt to living in the building. A pet services provider has been contracted to provide various specialist services to residents.
Arthur Case, Evergreen Lifestyle CEO: To many seniors, pets are their best friends and to some they are like children. At Evergreen you may bring your pets with you provided you are staying in a house, cottage or ground floor apartment. For true pet lovers, not being able to move in with their pets would be a deal breaker.
Clifford Oosthuizen, Westbrook MD: Westbrook's policy is that the homeowner must obey the municipality's bylaws when it comes to pets. Also, homeowners are expected to use common sense by not having pets in a confined area, which will be unfair and stressful to the animals.