H.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Recently, our board had the manager send out a letter informing all people who rent units in our condo that when their lease was up that, if they have a dog or cat in the unit, they will no longer be able to lease that unit when their lease runs out. Yes, our documents say that only owners may have pets but that rule has not been observed for many, many years (at least 10 maybe more). If they want to do this don’t they have to pass a new rule about it and aren’t the renters here who already have pets grandfathered in?
Mister Condo replies:
H.S., rules enforcement is at the discretion of the Board. Since the rule was already on the book, renters who entered the community with pets did so at the violation of the existing rule, even though there was no enforcement at the time. In fact, I believe the Board can begin enforcing the rule immediately by serving notice that the renter with the pet is in violation of the association’s rules. They are actually being quite kind by extending the notice to when the lease is ended. What the Board cannot do is indiscriminately enforce the rule so as to target one particular unit owner or renter. I am not an attorney and cannot speak to the legal aspects of refusing to allow renters with pets to remain after their lease has expired but there may be some cases where discrimination can be claimed. I would advise concerned renters to seek the legal opinion of an attorney to see if they have any housing or renter’s rights in your state. Other than that, renters with pets should consider finding new rentals so as not to face lawsuits and possible eviction from the association after they begin enforcing the rule. Conversely, if enough unit owners feel the rule should be removed, they could ask the Board to vote on removing the restriction. My guess is that the Board will not be willing to do that and that there has been some incident that is now putting this chain of events into action. Good luck!