New Condo Owners Challenging Association’s Pet Rules

K.T. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I purchased my condo in September of 2015. There are 12 units in our association. We read the CCR prior to moving in because we knew we’d be wanting to get a dog. Our CCR states “Owners may have two common household pets which may be dogs, cats, birds or other pets defined in the Civil Code Section and as limited by local City and County ordinances and regulations.”

However, after moving in, our HOA manager sent over a handbook which states we can only have one dog and one cat. The handbook is dated 2007 and the CCR 2015. I would like to get a 2nd dog but am curious to see if the HOA handbook can stand up to the CCRs.

Mister Condo replies:

K.T., thank you for the question. As you know, I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice here. You may wish to contact a local attorney to see what specific legal rights you have. As a friendly outside observer, I would say it looks like the handbook is much older than the CCRs. It would stand to reason that the CCRs would supersede the Handbook but that is not always the case. However, before I advise you to rush out and get a second dog because you think you are in the right, I have to ask you about other members of the community. Do any of them have a second dog or are they all following the handbook rules? Even if you are right, and there are no other unit owners with two dogs, you risk the ire of your neighbors. If you don’t care about that, and you want to press the issue, speak with an attorney and see what the consequences might be for pushing back against the handbook rules. I would also ask you to think about the welfare of the second dog. If you are not successful in your campaign to take on the association and their handbook rules, what will become of the dog? I wish you and your fur babies a happy journey!

4 thoughts on “New Condo Owners Challenging Association’s Pet Rules

  1. Another issue to consider would be if the handbook was supplied as part of the documents given before the sale. If not, that would seem to make a stronger case since all the rules should be part of that package, unless the law in your state does not require that.

  2. What is the current FL rule for condos with no dogs rule in their docs when the owner get a letter from a MD stating the patience needs a dog for emotional support or hard of hearing and need dog to let them know someone at the door etc

    1. J.D., I am not an attorney nor an expert is Florida community association law. However, most of the guidelines for dealing with service animals come from the federal level and the FHA requirements for accommodation. Typically, the association must honor the resident’s service animal request. There may be additional protections available to the association (size, breed restrictions, etc.). Your best bet before challenging any support animal request is to speak to the association’s attorney for the latest updates on recent court cases in your state that may effect how you manage the situation at your association. All the best!

  3. You may also want to check and see when the new CC&R’s were adopted and if they were recorded and made part of the condo documents.

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