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Pet Peeves Making and Enforcing Fair Pet Rules

 Time was, if you said that a co-op or condo building was 'going to the dogs,' it  was a bad thing. These days however, that's not always the case. According to  the American Pet Products Association, 39 percent of all U.S. households own at  least one dog, and 33 percent own at least one cat. This is why many condos and  HOAs in South Florida and around the country have started to change their rules  regarding pets and it’s a much more welcoming atmosphere for animals.  

 But not everyone is for the pets. Non pet-lovers cite noise, aggression and mess  as reasons for not wanting to share their building with their neighbors'  animals, and they feel that a duly elected board should have the right to limit  pet ownership. In many communities, people share corridors and lobbies, and  have limited access to floors via the elevator, which brings still other issues  into play. People may have animal allergies or even phobias—and forcing them to share an elevator with people and their pets can be a  problem waiting to happen.  

 So how to promote peace among the four-legged and the two-legged inhabitants of  your building or association? The experts say it takes a combination of  courtesy, responsibility, accommodation, and respect; not just on the part of  pet owners, but of everyone who calls your community home.  

 Pets and the Law

 An issue that can complicate the implementation of some pet rules concerns  residents who need companion animals for medical reasons. While no one would  argue (indeed, it would be illegal) the right of a blind person to have a  seeing-eye dog, or one trained to recognize the signs of seizure or stroke and  alert medical personnel, other claims can seem questionable. Distinguishing a  medically-necessary companion animal from an ordinary pet can get very dicey—the definition of a 'companion animal' is so broad and far reaching, it can  easily be abused.  

 Is a cockatoo or a potbellied pig really what the doctor ordered to fight  depression or anxiety? Are each and every one of a resident's eight cats a  'medical necessity'? With the issue of therapy animals a common media topic and  official-looking companion animal 'certification' documents easily downloadable  from the web, it seems anyone can invent a plausible reason for why they  absolutely must be allowed to keep an animal in their home.  

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5 Comments

  • My landlord in my condo rental has said it is ok to have my emotional support animal, however, she is requiring a $400.00 deposit. She told me people after I depart are allergic to dogs and such so no matter what the carpet must be replaced, etc. If I do not give her the deposit, I can expect to have that money removed from my security deposit. This used to be a pet friendly community, so there are other dogs here. I was told by her that as of September 1st, 2014 she no longer accepts dogs. Mine is under 20 lbs and is a registered emotional support dog with all documents from my psychiatrist and I am awaiting my permanent disability court date. Is this landlord allowed to act this way? I am in Tamarac, Fl.
  • Yes - If you want a pet pay for them. My home was destroyed by pets who were not on the lease. It`s 3 years later and I still cannot correct all the damage financially - I cannot afford to. You are destroying and invading other people`s hard earned property - so you need to pay for it. I would charge about 2000. since it cost that much to replace carpeting.
  • can a hoa house community make a committee w/o homeowners approval and charge $100 if you do not have your dog registered? What if you have relatives stay in your home at times with you and the dogs are theirs?
  • Can my fl condo association restrict where we can go o. The property with our empty support dog? Not toilet issues just say accompanying us in common patio areas?
  • On Dec 1st i putchased an older condo in a community that has a no pets rule. Although there are known support pets living here, it is still the rule. I wondered why I was coughing at night, scratching my nose, eyes, face and was told two weeks ago by another owner that my previous owner had had a cat for years. I have known most of my life I'm extremely allergic to cats but when i viewed the place, her grandson and agent, knew pets weren't permitted and never disclosed. I have paid to have carpets scrubbed, findimg hands full of cathair. Painted my bedroom and beginning to paint other rooms. None of this has helped, my sinuses are a mess, i still wake up coughing and can't sleep remainder of night. I temoved a small sofa she left here, valance both full of hair anything that could hold cat hair. I have my own furniture here since I moved in, now probably saturated with hair. We discussed during assoc meeting last Monday, including management group. My issue was essentially dismissed, along with other non owners pet concerns. Do I have any legal course of action against previous owner, association or management group, especially previous owner? Just removing carpet and replacing with something that isn't going to collect hair. I purchased a box fan and hepa filter to suck the hair out. The ac filters were full of hair, I've replaced. I'm paying people to do things to get this resolved. I'm 72 and must now paint everything else myself as i can't afford more workers now. J paid $100K for this place and I'm miserable. My agent was gone most of Nov and did not ask about pets, we both assumed it was a clean place. Help please with some guidance. Thank you.