When a pet owner is a tenant or owner in a property run by a homeowners association, there are often rules governing pets so that they don’t infringe on the rights of other owners and tenants. A homeowners association is responsible to handle pet problems within the homeowners association as quickly and efficiently as possible. The goal should be for everyone to get along rather than forcing the pet owner to give up their pet, whenever possible.
Tips for solving pet problems in your homeowners association
Follow a communication protocol:
When a homeowners association receives a complaint about a pet problem, they should start by talking to the pet owner to see if there is a good way to solve the issue. If a second complaint is received because the issue is continuing, a written notice should be sent to the owner. A third written notice may result in requesting the pet to leave.
Create clear rules:
To reduce problems and confusion, all tenants and homeowners should be provided a clear, written set of rules regarding pets in their homeowners manual and/or on the homeowners association website. Preferably, tenants should sign off on the rules to show understanding.
Common pet rules:
Type of animal restrictions
Size of pet
Number of pets
Noise violations (ex. excessive barking)
Picking up after your pet
Pets left outside for extended periods of time
Pets outside without owner present
Probably the most common problem involving pets is an excessive amount of noise. Perhaps the dog howls whenever owners are not at home or maybe the dog barks non-stop while outside. This noise pollution can significantly reduce the level of living enjoyment for other tenants.
When a homeowners association receives a noise complaint about a pet, they should try to come up with a positive solution with the pet owner. If the issue is not resolved, written notices may be appropriate.
Property damage affecting the homeowners association would include damage to outside walls or doors, walkways, lobbies, elevators, community rooms and landscaping. Animals allowed to eliminate outside could also cause damage to the property if owners do not clean up responsibly.
Having established rules in place such as “picking up after your pet” and “no pet is allowed to roam free on the property without a leash” can greatly reduce the risk of property damage. If violations to the rules have caused property damage then the homeowners association must follow protocol by speaking to the tenant or homeowner and follow up with a written notice about the issue.The pet owner may be forced to give up their “pet deposit” or be sent a bill to cover the cost of repairing the property damage, depending on the agreement in place.
Community votes in a homeowners association
Some homeowners associations may have gone overboard in creating rules around pets. If tenants feel that a rule is unfair, for example the restriction of a certain breed of dog, then they may wish to gather signatures and try to have the rule overturned at a homeowners association meeting.
The goal with pet rules in a homeowners association should be to allow pet owners to enjoy their pets without infringing on the rights or enjoyment of their neighbors. When clear rules are in place and protocols for communication are used, the chances of a peaceful environment for all are greatly increased.
Son-Rise Property Management is a full service property management company located in Bellingham, WA. Contact us today to see how we can help you find the perfect home to rent or manage your property.