Moving House in Hong Kong with a Pet
Hong Kong people love their pets, locals and ex pats alike. We all know how nice it is to come home to that cute fluffy, playful, loyal buddy, greeting us like we’ve been away forever, and keeping us company on our prized walks around the shops, hiking on the trails, or just snuggling up to us purring, in front of the tv after a hard days work.
So, how do we continue to keep our furry friends happy, when it comes time to change digs and move to a new location or property?
Logically, space is the key to keeping everyone happy, everyone meaning you, your pet, your landlord and your neighbours. It makes sense if you have a large dog to have a place with more space, which in general would not be so comfortable in the high density areas and smaller sized apartments. However if you need to be close to Central for work commitments you could consider a ground floor apartment with some garden, or an apartment with a larger outdoor terrace. Smaller dogs are much easier to accommodate, requiring a lot less space, and generally are more desirable for city dwellers. Cat lovers have a few more options, and as pets, cats are generally considered as less destructive on property and less likely to annoy your neighbours with barking.
The main thing to consider when moving with a pet is to find out the rules of the DMC which incidentally doesn’t stand for dog, mouse, cat. This means Deed of Mutual Covenant. Every property has one of these, and they will contain any information on allowing pets to live in the building. As a guide, if the DMC does not ban property owners or tenants from keeping pets, they are legally allowed. If pets are not allowed, this will be clearly stated in the DMC rules. The DMC may list the size and type of pets allowed, however if this is not restricted, in theory you are able to keep any size and breed of animals.
The best way to get the right information on this when seeking a new abode, make sure that your property agent is aware of the type of pet you have and they will help you to identify this information in the DMC. Where possible, if you have rented or owned a property with your pet previously, ask for a reference from the previous landlord or owners corporation that states clearly that your pet/pets were well behaved and created no issues or problems. A prospective landlord may wish to include an additional clause in any new tenancy agreement that states that the tenant is responsible for any damage caused by their pet to the property during their tenancy.
If you have a noisy dog kept on your premises which becomes a nuisance to neighbours, you may receive complaints which could result in legal action being taken against you by the owners corporation even if the DMC does not ban animals. This could lead to a worst case scenario of an eviction, so always best to state up front that you have one or more pets, or intend to acquire one, and be responsible and aware of your pets behaviour as a consideration for the peace of your neighbours.
A landlord of a single family house or village house is more likely than not to accept your pets. Families or those with larger sized pets often consider to live in such areas as Happy Valley, Ap Lei Chau, Clearwater Bay and Sai Kung, all offer more space and are known to be the most pet friendly neighbourhoods in Hong Kong, along with most of the outer islands such as Lamma and Discovery Bay all having a high population of our furry friends.
These areas offer an abundance of dog parks or plenty of wide open spaces, beaches, waterfronts and natural parks. They are well catered to with plenty of amenities, animal veterinary services, grooming and supplies. Ap Lei Chau has a waterfront promenade with a dog park which is open 24/7 and has different sections for small and large dogs. Happy Valley has a number of dog friendly cafes, and offers a more strenuous up-hill walking terrain for larger dogs with energy to burn. Sai Kung and the new territories has any number of hiking trails and beaches and a wide selection of pet grooming and supply stores.
It’s important to consider the mental health and well being of your pets, to get the very best from them, so when choosing a new dwelling, take the time in consideration of the right amount of space and neighbourhood, to ensure that your pets are free to live happily and safely in a suitable environment that fits with their size and personality.