An experienced pet-friendly real estate agent knows what to look for from an HOA and condo association, and if you have pets, you’ll want to work with someone who has that experience. They can help you understand what restrictions, if any, do exist and how that might affect your current lifestyle with your dog, or other pet.
There are advantages to HOA and condo living but it’s not uncommon for them to have specific guidelines relating to pets. It’s something that you should fully understand before deciding to buy a home. Even if you don’t have pets now if you’re considering it for the future, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into.
There are HOA rules that home buyers should watch out for. An HOA or condo association might limit the number of pets you can have, only approve of specific breeds, have a weight limit, require pets to be spayed or neutered, or limit your ability to build the fence you need. I know what to look for in those documents, I’ll make sure you have a full understanding of what you’re signing up for before we make an offer.
Here are the most common HOA rules and pet ownership restrictions buyers should watch out for:
Documentation Requirements: Associations have a responsibility to ensure residents and their pets are safe and most will require all pet-owners to complete a registration process and have up-to-date documentation at all times. This includes licensing, vet records and proof of vaccinations.
Limiting Number of Pets: An HOA might limit the number of pets, or dogs, in a single household or per square footage. It’s not uncommon to see a restriction of two pets per household.
Breed Restrictions: Breed restrictions are not an uncommon practice. An HOA or condo association might restrict certain breeds that are deemed dangerous; they may not be allowed at all.
Size and Weight Restrictions: The community might say dogs are allowed but limit their size. Especially common in condo living, there could be a maximum height or weight requirement.
Leashing Laws: Leashing rules and regulations are common practice in any neighborhood with an HOA and for condo associations. Even if your pet is well-trained, you will be obligated to abide by the rules set-forth by the association. You might be surprised to learn that this could also apply to cats, although not as common, leash laws don’t always apply to just the dogs. They might even be as strict as to tell you the type of leash you’re required to use. Usually, the rules will insist that dogs will not be allowed in common areas if off-leash and that they cannot be left unattended on patios or outside spaces. It’s definitely something to consider when choosing a home.
Proper Waste Disposal: Yep, there’s even rules about dog poo. Most HOA’s will insist owners pick up after their pets and properly dispose of waste. They may or may not provide the bags and cans for you. Part of being a responsible pet owner is cleaning up after your pet; the regulations set by the association will most likely specify that you have to tie up any waste in a bag for proper disposal. You can expect this rule to be heavily enforced.
Nuisance Behavior: Depending on how specific the associations CC&Rs (Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) is, there may be provisions in place related to noise and nuisance behavior made by pets. The rules might specify a quiet time or make a simple statement about nuisance behavior which can either assure you or make it more difficult to enforce if it happens to be your neighbor that’s the nuisance. If your dog loves to bark and be heard or is often left home during the day without you, this could be problematic. Let’s talk about this together so we know exactly what you need to accommodate your lifestyle.
Fence Requirements and Restrictions: An HOA might restrict the addition of a fence or limit the height, location, or type of fence allowed. Oftentimes, fencing has to be uniform throughout the neighborhood and that will determine the color, material, and style that can be added. It’s rare that you have total freedom when it comes to adding or updating a fence.
An HOA’s covenants, restrictions, and rules keep neighborhoods looking neat and tidy, it discourages certain behaviors, and provides a sense of community. Extra efforts are made to provide a peaceful and safe neighborhood and there are plenty of reasons you’d want to adopt that lifestyle; we just need to make sure that we find that right one that welcomes both you and your pet.