Pet Restrictions: What Your Condo Association Can and Cannot Enforce

Posted on: June 13, 2019 by Javier iSure

For residents in a condo association, pets are always welcome additions to any family and household. But for condo associations, they can sometimes spell trouble. Pets can occasionally become an annoyance to neighbors who share a wall, a fence, a sidewalk, etc. There is a point where having too many cats or noisy dogs or birds can be disruptive to the living experience for anyone within earshot.

Condo associations can take action when trying to balance out complaints from neighbors and keeping pet owners happy and supported in the community. The aim should be to cut down on potential issues through pet restrictions within declarations, making sure to establish rules that regulate members’ pet choices. Here’s what a condo association can and cannot do when enforcing pet restrictions.

Types of Restrictions

Most developments and community associations have limitations included in their leasing outlines known as reasonable restrictions. From certain species of dog or cat to pet sizes and weight limits to the amount of pets allowed in a single unit altogether, condo associations have the right to set their own limits. The majority of associations don’t mind their residents having pets in their homes, but just want to make sure liabilities are kept to a minimum. This can be noise level or destruction of any kind from the pets inside the units.

Some associations, however, have taken on blanket prohibitions on all pets as long as a restriction does not violate public policy.

Enforcing Restrictions

An association board is responsible for enforcing community restrictions on pet housing inside a community. If a member of a condo association refuses to follow the rules or is caught essentially hiding pets, the board can enact a fine or even take legal action. Civil lawsuits have been filed before requesting injunctive relief against the resident in question.

Boards should be sure to enforce these restrictions across the whole community instead of just sporadically. The point here is that restrictions are implemented to serve a purpose to keep everything fair for all residents and keep the integrity of a community intact.

Exceptions to Restrictions

There are, in fact, some situations that cannot be enforced by condo associations based on federal exceptions. Even if a restriction outline is well-crafted and well-maintained, federal law always protects residents in some cases.

For example, The statute most common to trump pet restrictions in associations is that of the Fair Housing Act, which keeps pet owners from being discriminated against. This federal note requires reasonable accommodation of disabled persons, which can include allowing a disabled person to keep an assistance animal, even if the development in question prohibits all animals.

However, it is possible to not prohibit service animals, such as dogs or emotional support pets, if that animal is a direct threat to other residents in a community. If this is the case, a condo association must prove it to be so in order to enforce their restriction.

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