Keeping a service dog

One of the owners have a son with emotional problems. They got him a dog to assist with this. When moving into the complex they are told that the dog will not be allowed seeing that the complex in their rules have a “No dogs” rule. How can you assist the Trustees in this matter?

One should always look at the Rules of the complex – ensuring that they are valid rules (i.e. either filed at the Deeds Office if made before 7 Oct 2016 or approved by CSOS if made after 7 Oct 2016).

Then it is also important to look at the Prescribed Conduct Rules of the Act – Annexure 2 of the STSM Act.

The prescribed conduct rules (PCR) state the following in this regard:

  1. The owner or occupier of a section must not, without the trustees’ written consent, which must not be unreasonably withheld, keep an animal, reptile or bird in a section or on the common property.

  2. An owner or occupier suffering from a disability and who reasonably requires a guide, hearing or assistance dog must be considered to have the trustees’ consent to keep that animal in a section and to accompany it on the common property.

So while the Conduct Rules of the scheme may state that no dogs are allowed the PCR state that service dogs must be allowed.

That does not mean that anyone can now claim that his/her dog is a “service dog”.

The Trustees should ask for proof that the dog has been trained by an accredited establishment; the dog should wear an identifiable jacket or collar (identifying it as a trained dog) and the dog should not be a nuisance to other owners or occupiers.