Establishing reasonable pet rules can help communities striving to be pet friendly avoid ending up in the doghouse. Developing fair pet rules is critical to keeping Fido, dog owners, and the community content with tails wagging.
While it may seem some communities have gone to the dogs, it’s no surprise people are so enamored with their pooches and other pets. According to the most recent American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey, 70% of U.S. households own a pet. Meanwhile, three-quarters of pet owners say they took their pet into consideration when they decided where to live.
“As a result of the pandemic, we are finding more and more condo owners have pets, and pets are becoming an important issue for condo residents and boards,” says Denise Lash, an attorney, founder of Lash Condo Law in Toronto, and a past president of the CAI Canada Chapter. “The key is to get pet owners to be responsible for their pets and feel that they are part of a community that they care about.”
That’s because, as much as people love them, pets and their parents can create conflicts and problems. Setting pet standards are very important.
“Pets can be like children to people,” says Jeannette Graham, manager at Bayport Beach & Tennis Club in Longboat Key, Fla. “And just like children, sometimes pets act poorly. You know, you may think your little angel is perfect, but the person on the airplane who is getting their seat kicked doesn’t agree.”
Fair and reasonable pet rules spell out community rights and responsibilities. Such rules can address everything from barking or whining to the number of pets allowed or how much dogs can weigh.
Along with pet rules, setting up pet registries can help enforce rules, says Graham, the Florida manager. She recommends having a photo of the owner and pet in your files to help identify a resident’s pet’s poor behavior.
Finally, Graham believes promoting communities as “pet friendly” or “pet free” should be avoided. “Realistically, the days of animal-free communities are over,” she says. “We all need to work together to find a compromise where everyone can accept a happy medium and be respectful of our neighbors.”
>>First in a three-part series. Look for more guidance on appropriate pet rules in community associations on Ungated in the week ahead.
Pamela Babcock, a writer and editor in the New York City area, contributed to this article.
Thank you for your recent article regarding Pets and Condominium Living. My husband and I are Realtors in NJ and searched for a vacation condominium complex for 3 years before we found one on the Jersey shore that we both liked . We purchased in 2015. We were very happy that we were able to find such a complex since a priority was that it be on the beach and that it was “pet free” due to my allergies and my husband’s fear of dogs (he was attacked years ago by a german shepard). Not to mention that since it was going to be an investment rental, we wanted a building complex that was pet free since we’ve seen far too many incidents between a landlord and disrespectful renters.
That said, I have a few issues about Jeanette Graham’s statements regarding condo living so here goes:
I totally disagree with her statement “Realistically, the days of animal-free communities are over,” We all need to work together to find a compromise where everyone can accept a happy medium and be respectful of our neighbors.” These statements represent a clear lack of respect for those who choose NOT to have animals in their building, whatever their reasons are. Respect is honoring the current rules & regulations of an establishment, it’s not about disrupting and trying to change the rules for one’s personal and SOCIAL IDOLOGY. Trying to impose a guilty feeling by saying “we all have to get along” while discounting one’s health is not exactly “working together”. There are many who suffer severe allergies due to dogs & cats and yet these people are being overlooked and chastised as if they don’t want to “get along”. That’s not a compromise when you try to invade an established environment of those with health issues or those who fear dogs or just don’t like animals. We’ve had dogs growing up and when our children were growing up, in private homes, but at our condo complex we wanted a pet-free building where a human’s health supersedes the social feelings of “having to get along with a pet”. I guess my point is that residents of an existing complex that has a “pet-free” rule shouldn’t be chastised or forced to change because “we all have to get along”. That statement discounts current rules because of their own selfish reasons and dictates how one “should live”. Those who have chosen to buy in this type of complex for their own personal reasons, health or otherwise, should not be forced on “how they should live their lives” but respected for their own choice in their current community.
There are many places pet parents can choose to buy, they should find one instead of disrupting someone else’s personal choice.
I am a director on our HOA board and one thing we all have in common, we work together for the common good of ALL in our community.