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Condo Owners Are Disgusted With Pet Rules--5 Things They Can Do!

Aug 20, 2008
J.B. (New York) asks: "Kay, are there any pet rules for condominiums? Both of my neighbors have dogs. They are constantly making messes in my front yard and I'm disgusted. I'm the one cleaning them up!"

Dear J.B.: Frequently the list of problems in condominiums has pets at the top. Even though they can be lovely companions, sometimes they are not welcome in the confines of a condominium property. Even when the residents read the condo's Declaration and Rules, they may disregard them.

Do the condominium's governing documents help?

The Declaration of Condominium Ownership---There usually is a section on animals. That section should enumerate which ones are permitted and which are not. The number of animals and their weight restrictions for each condo unit should be there.

The Amendments to the Condominium's Declaration---Amendments are changes to restrictions in a portion(s) of the Declaration. The pet portion may be nullified or changed by a Pet Amendment.

Check the Condominium's Rules---Rules add details to the restrictions in the condominium's Declaration and Amendments. For example, the Declaration may not address the issue of pet soiling at all, but the Rules may state that owners must immediately clean up after them. Other examples could be the requirements for walking pets, the repair of their damage, and pet housing.

Pet soiling may be included in these condominium documents, but you may discover that the board of directors is not enforcing them.

When buying a condominium unit, it is a must that you read these documents very carefully. The seller might not have a pet and may say they're allowed, without really knowing for sure!

Actions you can take!

The date, time, which resident's pet did the problem, and the nature of the problem are vital information you should keep in a log. Most importantly, if you don't include the address of the unit in which the dog lives, the board and/or management company will have no idea who is committing the violation.

Be sure a copy of your log is included each time you report an occurrence to your condo's management company or the board of directors.

Check local codes; there may be an ordinance about animals. The government entity may be able to solve your problem without involving the condominium's managing agent or the board.

The condo's board of directors can create a rule about pet soiling, if one doesn't exist.

Ask the board to consistently enforce the rule if it does exist.

Actions the condominium board of directors can take!

Pets may be approved or disapproved by authority of your board.

The rules in the condominium's Declaration may state that certain types of pets are not permitted.

When the residents complain, letters and fines may be levied against the violating unit owners.

An Amendment to ban pets or specific pets can be initiated by the condominium's board of directors. Approval of the proposed Amendment may be needed from the owners. When passed, it must be filed at the appropriate government records office.

The authority to have a pet permanently removed from the condominium property is usually given to the board by most Declarations if it is determined to be dangerous or the pet's owner continues to disobey the pet restrictions and rules.
About the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kay Senay is a consumer advocate and a syndicated columnist. She enables purchasers and owners with the answers they need to resolve the issues of condominium living. Get FREE TIP SHEETS, books, and more articles at pet rules
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