In an increasingly competitive property market, being pet-friendly confers a distinct edge, says Yael Geffen, chief executive of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.
“There are not nearly enough petfriendly rental properties to meet the high demand as a growing number of landlords and body corporates across the board are adopting a “no pet” policy, even when the home is spacious with large grounds.
“It has also become an issue in the purchase market where we are seeing more sectional title and cluster developments imposing an outright ban on pets, severely limiting buyers’ choices, especially in the lower to mid-markets.” Densification has led to a growing number of clusters and complexes in suburban areas and even homes with small gardens often restrict or ban pets because landlords may equate animals with damage.
Sometimes this even extends to smaller pets like birds. However, the decision to bar pets is usually based on envisioned problems rather than actual issues.
“According to an American study, Companion Animal Renters and PetFriendly Housing in the US, there is little, if any, difference in damage resulting from tenants with or without pets.
“And, interestingly, the cost of damage from pets was much smaller than the costs associated with tenants with children,and we all know children can be a lot noisier than animals.”
As densification is the future face of every city in South Africa, and people will continue to want to keep pets, Geffen says there will have to be a compromise at some point as neither cluster housing nor pets will disappear.
“If trustees and landlords want to maintain standards by having their choice of the most desirable residents out of the entire pool of home seekers in the country rather than simply the best of those who don’t own animals, then more flexibility is going to be needed in the property marketplace.”