Before June 2015, Malaysian pet owners weren't allowed to keep their beloved pets inside condominiums and apartments. They would either have to sneak them in, live in a landed property, or hope for understanding neighbours.
Residents in Malaysia were subjected to agreements with the condo or apartment management where dogs and other pets were prohibited.
However, it was recently brought to the public's attention that the recent amendments to the Strata Management Act brought significant changes to the laws in the country regarding the practice of keeping pets in stratified homes such as condominiums and apartments.
A report by The Edge in October revealed that pet owners were legally entitled to keep their pets in their respective condominiums
"According to By-Law 14 in the Third Schedule of the Strata Management (Maintenance & Management) Regulations 2015, pets are allowed unless they cause annoyance or a nuisance and pose health risks to other residents in the property," lawyer and partner of Pretam Singh Nor & Co Datuk Pretam Singh was quoted as saying by The Edge.
Popular pet-loving community website Petfinder.my also confirmed that pets are allowed in Malaysian condos and apartments
In a note that was published on Petfinder.my's Facebook page on 9 November, lawyer Pretam explained that the "Deed of Mutual Covenants" (DMC), which spells out the dos and don'ts in a strata community, came to an end on 2 June 2015 as the recent amendments to the Strata Management Act was enforced on 1 June 2015.
DMC lays out the house rules of a condominium, which sometimes include restricting tenants from keeping pets.
With the enforcement of the amended laws, Pretam said that "the only surviving DMC is the Third Schedule of the Regulation thus making the Third Schedule the standard By Law for all strata parcel owners in the country".
What this simply means is that tenants are no longer bound to the restrictive DMC, but the new laws provide a mechanism for the additional by-laws to be made, and the additional by-laws must not be contradicting to the statutory by-laws.
But what happens if the managing body of the condo makes additional by-laws prohibiting the keeping of pets?
The Management Corporation (MC), simply refers to the managing body of a condominium or any compound which has multiple owners and shared public facilities.
"It is apparent that the Management Corporation may in an annual general meeting adopt additional by-laws in relation to pets but cannot be inconsistent with Third Schedule By-Laws (Standard By Law)," Pretam said.
"The Third Schedule By-Laws (Standard By Law) allows the keeping of pets and therefore any prohibition of pets thereof would be an inconsistency."
All the legal talk aside, yes, pets are allowed in condominiums and apartments! Is there a catch, though?
As highlighted earlier, pets are allowed unless they cause annoyance or a nuisance.
Pretam explains further in the note published by Petfinder.my: The words "nuisance" and "annoyance" are often used together, but they have different meanings. The classic definition of nuisance was given in a 19th century case as "an inconvenience materially interfering with the ordinary physical comfort of human existence".
So, for example, an activity which causes excessive noise or dust or smoke might constitute a nuisance.
"Annoyance" has no technical legal meaning but it is clear that it is wider than "nuisance".
Annoyance was defined as anything which "really does bring an objection to the mind of a reasonable being" or "reasonably troubles the mind and pleasure, not of a fanciful person, or of a skilled person who knows the truth, but of the ordinary sensible English inhabitant of a house". There need not be any "physical detriment to comfort".
Pet owners will still need to comply with the laws enforced by the local authorities where they live
For example, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) specifically states that only smaller dogs are allowed in stratified homes namely the Minature Pinscher, Bichon Frise, Pekingese, Papilon, Poodle (Toy), Japanese Chin, Maltese, Pomeranian and Chihuahua.
On the other hand, Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) prohibits the keeping dogs on any high-rise building.
Therefore, residents in Malaysia can refer to their respective local council to get more information on the matter.
So, what's the conclusion?
• Pet owners are legally entitled to keep pets in condominiums and apartments unless the local council's by-law expressly prohibits or restricts it
• If the local council does not have a by-law that imposes such restrictions, tenants need not seek consent from the condo management
• If condo management refuses to comply, you may file case at Strata Management Tribunal
How do you file a case at Strate management Tribunal? Pet owners may refer to this website for more information.