Posh and Pet-friendly Living
South Africans are a nation of pet lovers. That’s official. For example, a survey done in 2017 suggests that there are 9.2 million dogs living in South African households, ranking the country ninth in the world by size of dog pet population (Insight Survey 2017).
South Africa’s pets are increasingly being seen as part of the family. But the keeping of pets in apartment blocks has been controversial, driven often by misconceptions on the part of body corporates. There are unfortunate and unintended consequences to this. For example, it often has the unfortunate effect of forcing elderly people to give up their pets once they downsize to smaller properties.
However, due to the increase in urban migration worldwide and an increase in apartment complex living, there has been a noticeable trend towards allowing people to keep pets in rented properties. In 2016, the state of New South Wales, Australia, enacted more favourable regulations that make it easier for body corporates to allow pet ownership, while encouraging building designs to be more pet-friendly.
According to Emma Power, a Senior Researcher in Geography and Urban Studies at the Western Sydney University, keeping pets in apartment communities is a good thing. It benefits the whole community, supporting the overall health of their owners, protecting against loneliness, and has a ripple effect in creating a sense of community.
In the State of California in the USA up to 50 % of residents in apartments have pets, and there is even a North-hollywood landlord who insists that all tenants come with a pet. In South Africa, typical municipal regulations permit keeping two dogs or cats in an apartment, unless application has been made and approved for more.
Locally, the availability of dog- or catfriendly apartment accommodation is much sought-after and visionary developers are meeting the need.
We spoke to Craig Gilfillian, a real estate agent living in a recently completed apartment complex in Newlands, Cape Town, called The Premier. Craig and his partner live with a French bulldog, Bentley, in a glam twobedroom apartment on the top floor with stunning views of the back of Table Mountain. Whilst he stresses that the ultimate decision to permit residents to keep pets rests with the body corporate and trustees of the building, he also mentions the importance of the pet-friendly nature of the building. In his instance, pet-friendly factors include a large wraparound balcony, shared areas and easy access to a public green trail along the banks of the Liesbeek River, right up to the famous SAB Newlands Brewery.
Craig’s apartment at The Premier is spacious and well appointed. Finishes are of a high standard and worthy of a pedigree canine. Craig says that Bentley enjoys apartment life and gets on well with the neighbours. Bentley spends his days at a dog daycare centre close to where Craig is working.
The Premier’s developers, Rawson Developers, are well established in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs for projects that meet the needs of clients. These include quality-assured, multi-unit residential complexes in strategically located spots in the suburbs that offer great investment potential. In the case of The Premier, the building is close to the famous Newlands cricket and rugby grounds, restaurants, night spots, and also the University of Cape Town.
Very popular with investors seeking rental stock, Rawson Developers’ apartments are aimed at students in the rental market, young professionals, and at the retirement market. The company is acknowledged for its wide and generous buildings that offer plenty of recreational space for residents, including gyms, ground floor atria with plant life, rooftop swimming pools, and braai areas. Building design is in line with green building standards that include low-energy light fittings and low water-consumption features. Apartments are networked, offering easy – and usually highspeed – internet and satellite connections.
The company’s commitment to urban renewal is also evident in its rehabilitation and upgrade of sidewalks and public spaces. Security is visible and makes a valuable contribution to the whole community, and not only those who live inside the building.
Carl Nortje, Managing Director of the company, says that his company’s multiunit residential complexes are popular with investors seeking a rental income, or for those seeking to accommodate university student offspring. “Rawson Developers concentrates on properties close to transport nodes and major facilities such as sports stadia, schools and student catchment areas. At present, the company has been developing in Observatory, where buyers have been able to cash in on the tax incentives offered by the authorities,” he says.
Further information can be obtained on the Rawson Developers website at www.rawson-developers.co.za.