Pet Policies

July 2018

Condo buildings exist as housing for people.  For those that wish to include pets in their home it can be necessary to establish ground rules.

Condo buildings may first open without pet restrictions because fewer restrictions facilitate the sale of units.  Pet restrictions may then be imposed by directors in response to problems or concerns.

A pet policy helps ensure the cleanliness of common areas and comfort of non-pet owners who reside in the same building.

Some buildings are pet friendly.  They may include pet amenities such as a play area, washing facility and even spa treatments.  Other buildings may impose pet restrictions or fees to avoid conflict with non-pet owners.

Pets can damage common areas.  They may scare, growl at or attack residents.  Persistent barking or yowling is a disturbance.  Some people are allergic to animals, fear them or have sanitation concerns.  Pet policies are intended to address these issues.

Attempts to circumvent pet policies by claiming service animal status is not uncommon.  Service animals are exempt from pet restrictions.  Pet policies that require owners to properly document their need for a service animal can limit abuse of this exclusion.  Requiring owners to pay for damage caused by their pets can ensure that bad-mannered service animals are not a burden to other condo residents.

Pets are family members and should be treated as such.  Certain areas can be allocated for walking and playing with pets.  Providing stations for waste disposal and collection bags is useful.  Charging an annual fee per pet provides funds for maintaining these spaces.  Requiring DNA registration for pets provides a mechanism for identifying pets and owners who fail to clean up after them.  Having pet owners submit a picture of their pet helps management understand the pet population dynamics in a condo corporation and can facilitate compliance with rules.  Some condo corporations may institute fines when there is a violation of pet rules.

Even pet-friendly condo corporations may institute pet size or weight limits.  Others may restrict the number of pets allowed in a suite.  There may be requirements that dogs be licensed, remain under control at any time when on condo property, and that they have received all of their shots.

Pet issues are some of the most sensitive matters in condo communities.  Pet policies should be clear and well-communicated.  Regardless of pet policies, condo corporations should focus on upholding governing documents even when pet policies conflict with personal views.

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