How to make sure Fido is an upstanding member of your community.
Does your community association allow people to have pets in the building? Are there rules against it? All associations need to make sure they have their pet policies in order, so residents will have solid answers to the questions they will inevitably ask.
What Restrictions Do Policies Contain?
It's important to remember that each association's policy can be very different, and there are no hard and fast rules that you need to abide by. The policy needs to be something that works for your particular community. Some of the elements that you will want to consider when you are creating or upgrading the policy include:
- Type of pets
- Number of pets
- Size of the pets
- Breed of animal
The policy should be as specific as possible. If not, there will always be homeowners who find ways to take advantage of the rules. You need to clarify the number of pets allowed, as well as the type of pets. If you have a weight restriction, you may want to make sure that you also have a number restriction. For example, if you say that there is a weight restriction of 60 total pounds for pets, someone might have five small dogs and five small cats! Make the policy as clear as possible.
One of the other things that you need to do is consider whether you want to eliminate certain breeds from the community. While some might see it as unfair, you may not want to allow certain breeds that have a bad reputation when it comes to aggression, such as pit bulls and Rottweilers.
Why Allow Pets?
Why should you consider allowing pets into the community? Pets have quite a few advantages. It makes the community more desirable for a large segment of the population. It can help to foster more of a sense of community as well, since many people who have dogs will get out, walk together, and socialize. You may even want to consider designating part of the property as a dog park. This adds more appeal and value in the eyes of many homeowners.
Why Disallow Pets?
Of course, you may have some very good reasons about why don't want to allow pets as well. Communities that rely on peace and quiet might not be able to have that if they allow dogs, loud birds, and other animals that have the potential to be disruptive. Other times, you may worry that people will bring dangerous pets into the community. Having a good policy in place can help prevent this from happening.
The ADA and FHA
Consider the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act as well. The ADA's regulations will outstrip the policies of the HOA, meaning that if someone requires a pet to help them with their disability, they will be able to have their pet on the property. The HOA doesn't have a say in this matter, as long as it is a service animal. This means that the animal needs to be specially trained to do some type of task that helps the owner. This area of the law can be quite confusing. It is always a good idea to speak with an attorney about what you need to allow in the community.
If you need help coming up with a workable pet policy for your community, stop trying to handle everything on your own. Instead, work with an attorney for the help you need. Get in touch with us today, and we'll help you with your pet policy and all of your other needs.