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In the Dog House

Tags: Residential Residential Views

As more people embrace high-rise living, some developers are moving to make apartments more pet-friendly. Auckland is growing up rather than just spreading out and, just like the city skyline, the number of apartment dwellers is soaring ever upwards.

As lifestyles change and land prices soar, across the generations people are embracing the convenience and affordability of apartment living. First-home buyers can get a foot on the property ladder in a small unit, while older downsizers can enjoy a maintenance-free urban lifestyle with views.

It’s a trend that is set to continue, helped by local government legislation. Part of Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan is to encourage development of existing urban “brownfield” sites into new medium- and high-density apartments. It seems to be working: council figures show that in the ten months from August last year, new consents were up 27 percent on the previous year, and 90 percent of those consents were in brownfield areas.

Despite the numerous benefits of apartment living, there is one particular downside that buyers often do not anticipate.

Many apartment buyers, particularly those downsizing from houses, come with pets which they consider part of the family who need a home too. But many apartment buildings come with bans on pet ownership, particularly dogs due to potential noise issues.

“Over half of the apartment buildings that we sell don’t allow pets,” says Daniel Coulson, Bayleys national residential manager.

“We have buyers asking all the time whether they can have pets in buildings, and quite regularly the answer is no.

“But it does depend on the type of building. For entry-level apartments in the central city that are home to a lot of students, you’ll more than likely find a blanket ban in the body corporate rules on keeping pets.”

If you’re looking to get permission to keep Tyson, your pet doberman, in a 35m2 studio flat off Queen Street, you’ll probably be out of luck. Though there is a growing trend with many developers to recognise our furry friends as an equally important part of the family.

“I’ve definitely had experience of people who have a significant budget to spend on a property, and at the top of their list is a pet-friendly building and often this is non-negotiable,” Coulson says.

“Developers are responding to this, because a ban on pets affects interest levels, which impacts the price that an apartment is able to achieve.

“A pet ban has a real, material effect on the desirability of an apartment. That’s why in more and more of the higher-end developments that are coming to the market – in places such as Newmarket, Parnell or Remuera, where you have downsizers looking to buy an apartment – developers are making moves to allow pets to be approved in their buildings.”

Regardless of the type of apartment you are looking to buy, if you have a pet, it’s essential to ask the listing agent about body corporate rules.

“It’s really easy if you’re a buyer to find out whether pets are welcome,” says Coulson. “It’s as simple as asking the agent; they’ll be able to tell you the body corporate’s restrictions on pet ownership.”

One quick question is all it takes to discover whether you, along with your dog or cat, will be able to call your new apartment home.

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