L.D. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Condo docs say an owner can have two pets. There are no size, weight, or breed restrictions. Owner has had one dog. He has now brought in roommate who also has a dog. Non-owners cannot have pets so now owner claimed new dog is his. Now owner has two dogs. Several weeks later, third dog arrives and owner now claims second dog went to live elsewhere and he now owns the newest dog. Roommate is still the same. Neighbors suspect he is boarding the newest dog and does not own it. How can a condo association verify he actually owns the dog and is not boarding dogs in his unit? Concern is owner responsibility if dog injures someone or damages property.
Mister Condo replies:
L.D., regardless of what the condo documents say, if an owner is going to tell a boldface lie to the association regarding the true nature of his relationship with his tenant and the dog ownership, he puts the association in a precarious situation with regards to rules enforcement. If he claims the roommate’s dog is his, I don’t see how the association can take action against him. If he is, in fact, domiciling a third dog, the Board should send him a warning and request a meeting before the Board to defend against the claim. Once the Board has heard his claim they can then decide if a fine or further action is in order. It is possible that turning up the heat on this unit owner with a summons to appear before the Board and/or fines will be enough to have him end this behavior but it is also possible that the Board will want to speak with the association attorney about stricter actions up to and including eviction of the third dog and even the tenant if the unit owner has failed disclose that he is renting his unit.
Rules and regulations are in place to protect the quality of life within the association. Ideally, unit owners comply with the rules, as they are what give the community stability and a nice living environment. If you have a unit owner who has no interest in voluntarily following the rules, fines and legal action may be the only reasonable option. However, the Board must be consistent in their application. That means that no other unit owner can be allowed to have three dogs or violate the renter’s rules of no dogs allowed. Otherwise, the Board could be cited for discrimination and that can be quite costly. Speak with your association attorney if this owner doesn’t behave. Good luck!