Ensuring Pet Friendly Communities

June 2020

What happens when one person’s pet becomes another’s nuisance.

When pet owners allow family members to urinate in elevators or lobby, or fail to clean up messes, residents are rightly outraged and demand action.  Some residents may fear pets that are large, loud or aggressive.

Pet friendly communities have found solutions that balance the needs of pets, pet owners and others in the community.  Management views pets as an advantage that increase selling and rental prices.

Pet friendly amenities may include dog runs, outdoor pet park areas, washing and spa baths.  All can be provided in a way that addresses the concerns of all residents.

The reality is that people and pets do live peacefully in high-rise and condo communities.  The extent to which this occurs depends on what rules are established, clarity of these rules, communication and enforcement.  Most pet-related problems occur when no pet rules are established or when there is a failure to enforce existing rules.

Since pets cannot be prohibited from condo communities, unless stated in governing documents, it makes sense to establish policies and enforcement measures to protect the interests of all residents.  Management can establish pet policies that restrict the size or number of pets allowed.  They can restrict where pets are allowed, and  incorporate fees to cover costs resulting from pet ownership.

Suggestions for management to ensure pets don’t become a problem in their communities.

Ensure Pet Policies are Clear

Include a section in condo rules and bylaws relating to pets.  There may be a maximum number of pets per unit and size restrictions.  They may prohibit commercial breeding or training services.  Enforcement is most effective if pets, like building residents, are registered.

Where fees are charged to pet owners, these should be clearly stated and evenly enforced.

Rules and restrictions may appear ambiguous or unclear because of grandfathering clauses.  Make sure rules are clear for both new and established residents.  Where grandfathering clauses exist, a date should be specified so residents know which set of restrictions apply to them.

Enforcement Measures should be Clear and Consistent

Procedures should be clear as to what must be done when a resident fails to abide by rules.  There should be a communication plan for notifying residents about what happens if they fail to comply.


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