L.R. from Massachusetts writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I live in a condominium, which is pet friendly. I am currently on the board and the entire board updated, reviewed and agreed to updating pet regulations, primarily dogs. The rules are pretty much standard – no larger than 35 lbs., must be leashed, carted or carried within common areas, cleanup after your pet, etc.. Of course, as most of our owners/renters follow the rules there are always some that believe the rules do not exist for them. We have one pet owner that believes her dog can go wherever she wants to bring it while leashed. We have what is known as a “great room” which is used for owners to gather and chit chat with each other, read a newspaper, or just sit quietly and enjoy the fireplace. This room contains lovely furniture and carpeting so the board does not allow pets, leashed or not, in this room. Most all residents obey this rule, except for one renter. Although her dog is well-behaved the owner of this pet will stand in front of elevators and converse which causes a safety situation for people exiting the elevators. She continues to believe she is allowed to take her dog into the “great room” without consideration to other owners sitting there that may be allergic or afraid. What else can the board of directors do to enlighten this renter that although she believes her pet has as many rights as owners here, she needs to follow the pet rules. Thank you.
Mister Condo replies:
L.R., I am happy to learn that your condo has pet friendly policies so that responsible pet owners can enjoy the amenities of the property as long as they follow the rules. It is unfortunate that you have one resident who doesn’t follow the rules. The way you will get this person to follow the rules for how they handle their dog in the areas where the dog is not allowed is the same way you would enforce the rules against any owner who doesn’t follow the rules. Since this person is also a renter, you will want to get the landlord involved sooner rather than later as the landlord can also help apply pressure to the renter for not following the rules which should be a violation of his or her rental agreement. Notice is given to the landlord and the tenant that a rule has been broken. The landlord and tenant are requested to appear before the Board to explain their side of the story. The Board is then free to enforce whatever fines or fees they wish as outlined in the condo’s governance documents. Typically, this isn’t necessary but the Board does have these tools at their disposal if a resident decides not to comply with rules and regulations. In the case of renters, the Board may have extra powers, up to and including removing the tenant from the condo. These are extreme actions and would likely require getting the association’s attorney involved if things escalate to that level. The goal is to have voluntary compliance. However, if that doesn’t happen, the Board should not hesitate to use every tool at has on hand to get compliance for the sake of all association residents. Good luck!