For Tenants

Renting an Apartment with Pets: What Are the Rules?

A pet for some people is part of the dream when renting an apartment or condo. Whether it’s a small dog or three cats, moving out with your existing pets or adopting one when you’re ready can be exciting. You get everything you need: the toys, their beds but wait! You’re missing the most basic question– are pets really allowed in an apartment? If so, what are the rules?

Are You Allowed to Have Pets in a High Rise?

Technically, yes. It’s not illegal to have a pet in your unit. Still, there are some regulations you ought to keep in mind if you are looking to keep a pet during your tenancy in an apartment unit. 

Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations

Apartments and condominiums are high rises which are categorised as strata-type properties. These strata properties are regulated by the government by this law called Strata Management (Maintenance and Management) Regulations 2015.  Under by-law 14 of the Third Schedule of the Regulations, clause 1 states:-

  • “In a building used for residential or dwelling purposes, a proprietor shall not keep any particular animal in his parcel or on the common property thereof that may cause annoyance or nuisance to the other proprietors or which may be dangerous to the safety or health of the other proprietors or which contravenes any written law or rules and regulations of the relevant State or local authority.”

This means you are allowed to keep the pet if it is well-behaved and that it doesn’t cause any particular nuisance, annoyance, or endangers the health of your neighbours. However, the second part of the clause states that the State or local authority may also have the right to place restrictions on having pets in strata properties in the first place. 

Local Council Regulations

Depending on where you are intending to rent your apartment or condominium, each local governing body has its own unique rules for pets in strata-type properties. Below is a table detailing  Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ)’s, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)’s, and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL)’s regulations on dogs in strata properties alone. 

Local CouncilRules and Regulations
Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ)Allows dogs in the property. Joint Management Body (JMB) and Madnagement Corporation (MC) can take action if a dog intrudes neighbours and neighbours make a complaint. JMB/MC can make a “house rule” on this matter. 
Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ)Dogs are only allowed on the ground floor of a high-rise building. 
Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL)If JMB and MC allow dogs on the high-rise building, only these small dog breeds are allowed to be kept:
– Miniature Pinscher
– Bichon Frise
– Pekingese
– Papillon
– Poodle (Toy)
– Japanese Chin
– Maltese
– Pomeranian
– Chihuahua

As for cats and other pets, there seems to be no clear say but the general understanding or rule-of-thumb is that a unit should be allowed at least (if not only) one small pet. 

Local Council Says Yes, But Condo Management Says No – Who do I Listen To?

Say you have done all the research, you would know that if the local council in the area you’re staying allows pets in apartments. This means you’re good to go live with your furbaby. 

Yet, what if the building management strongly insists that renting with pets are still not allowed? Who should you listen to? By right, the management should submit to the local council, making the local council’s rules override the management’s rules. 

If the management is insistent on not allowing you to keep your pet in your rental unit despite the local council allowing you to, challenge the management’s ruling by submitting an online application to the Strata Management Tribunal (SMT). Renters have little say about filing complaints. So take it up with your landlord to file a complaint on your behalf. Note that if you’re only renting the place, your challenge to the SMT might not be considered. So you might as well rent a place which is explicitly pet-friendly instead. 

At the end of the day, keeping a pet while renting an apartment or condominium unit needs special attention to the rules and regulations of strata properties overall. First, by the local municipal council and then, by the building’s management. Not to mention that, if you are renting a unit with a pet, you should check in with your landlord if he is okay with it. Some landlords would be fine with you keeping a pet in the unit, so long as you are a responsible pet owner. Regardless, it is your responsibility as a tenant to take care of the space you are living in. And please, think of your neighbours!

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