In recent times, there has been a development in policies of residential complexes and retirement homes that has had a significant effect on many people’s relationships with their companion animals. In many cases the tactics employed by Corporate Body Bullies are underhanded, illogical and prejudicial.

This document will give people a clear understanding of the variables involved and some strategies for dealing with these dubious tactics.

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Some schemes have amended the prescribed rules and now have a rule that no pets are allowed in the scheme whatsoever. This absolute prohibition on the keeping of pets could be argued to be an unjustifiable infringement on a person’s right of ownership. Then again, if the rule was in place and filed at the Deeds Registry before the owner bought into the scheme, the legal principle caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) comes into play as the buyer is presumed to have knowledge of the rules applicable to the scheme.

If a scheme has the prescribed rules and wants to adopt a “no pets” rule as an amendment to PCR 1, this could only be done by the body corporate passing a special resolution amending PCR 1 and having this filed at the Deeds Registry. But because all rules must be reasonable, the new rule must take into consideration the vested rights of owners who already have pets at the scheme.

The ‘grandfathering’ principle is appropriate here. This means not taking rights away from those in whom they are already vested. That is, you should not make those who have pets get rid of them, but once those pets die they should not be entitled to replace them.