It is not mandatory for condominium communities to permit animals as pets. Nevertheless, there are communities that permit pets, but with riders. For owners as well as the association it is critical that pet policies in real estate are put in place in clear terms. This helps members avoid deviations and consequent legal and other fallouts. Though spelling out the terms and details of them depend wholly on the HOA, there are some absolutely nonnegotiable HOA ethics/rules that you must follow as a resident or implement as a community manager.
Registration of Pets is a Must
Registering pets with the association is an essential part of pet policies in real estate. The registration needs to include the pets’ description along with name so that it can be traced in case it gets lost or gets caught being naughty. However, registration of animals is not just a one-time affair. You need to build the corresponding infrastructure for tracking the animal so that you can follow its behavior and detect it being naughty, if at all. That entails a cost and for that reason, you can be charged a fee during registration. There are different state laws regarding this aspect. So you need to check the laws in your state. However, if it is a support animal like for elderly people living in condominiums, you cannot charge a registration fee.
Damages Done by Pets
Pets can damage the owner’s area or the common area. In any case of damage whether in the owner’s area or the common area, it is the owner who has to pay.
Use of Common Spaces by Pets
There are condos with designated dog runs. If you have it, put it out in writing that dogs can’t be exercised outside the designated area. You need to designate every area that is under the control of the association such as elevators, entrances, etc. Associations need to put it in clear terms as to when pets can be allowed in common areas like entrances, elevators, pool deck, etc. List every such area in the condo and put in specific timings when pets can be allowed in these places.
Cleanup of poop or anything else resulting from keeping a poop is the responsibility of the owner. It should be clearly spelled out in pet policies in real estate.
Controlling Your Pet is Your Responsibility
The responsibility to control a pet does not end with putting a leash around it. You cannot hand over the leash of your 70-pound Labrador to your child. He should not be expected to control the dog if it jumps onto another person or pet.
Governing documents of condos should spell out clearly that association has the right to expel animals that harm people, other pet or common property. The pet policies in real estate in Florida explicitly states that associations can expel animals that have bitten even once. However, dog bites may also result from losing control of the dog. In that case, it entails negotiations.
Prohibition of Breeding or Selling
You need to specifically and clearly spell out that nobody can keep animals for breeding or selling. Breeding or selling animals come under commercial activity, and the regulations are regarding pets.
So people can keep pets in condominiums, but they need to abide by the pet policies in real estate.