Condo Seeks to Ban Pets for Renters

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K.B. from Hartford County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Our Association allows unit owners to have dogs. Can the Association prohibit renters or lessees from having dogs?

Mister Condo replies:

K.B., the short answer is “yes” but be careful. I am not an attorney so please accept my advice as friendly. For a proper legal opinion on amending your documents properly, I must insist that you speak with a qualified attorney. Many associations have rules about banning pets in rental units. However, if these rules aren’t in place as part of the original condo docs (most aren’t) then the documents need to be amended to reflect the changes. That means following the proper procedure for amending the documents, often requiring a full vote of all unit owners, not just the Board. The issue is that a unit owner who purchased a unit with the intent of renting it out did so based on the rules in place at the time of purchase. Changing those rules after the unit is purchased may create difficulty for the landlord unit owner who should be allowed a vote on the issue before the documents are amended. Depending on the make-up of your association, the rule may or may not pass. Condos with high concentration of landlord owners are not likely to pass a rule that restricts who the landlord can rent to. Condos with high concentrations of resident unit owners are very likely to pass such a rule. Finally, keep in mind that even with a rule in place prohibiting renters from having pets, that rule does not apply to any emotional service animal. If a renter has a note from a health care professional that the dog or cat they own provides emotional support, it is not considered a pet. The association cannot ban emotional support animals from residents regardless of their status as owners or renters. All the best!

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