Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!
Friday, July 20, 2018
Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!


SBCA: Free education for HOAs and condos on satellite placement issues.
(National Trade Organization)
Helping HOAs, condos and property managers with satellite placement issues since 1986.
Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.
Subject: Chickens in WA
Prev Next
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).
Author Messages
EmilyB4
(Washington)

Posts:5


06/25/2018 11:50 AM  
We are looking at buying a house with covenants. It's a big deal to me to have some animals. I don't like cats or dogs but would really love chickens and goats. The property isn't appropriate for goats, but chickens will be fine. The conditions state that no animals are allowed except for traditional pets. To some, chickens are traditional pets! It literally says nothing more than that...could I get in trouble for having them should we buy and someone decides it's a problem?
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2206


06/25/2018 12:06 PM  
First rule of HOA living - better to ask for permission (and get it in writing) before doing something because "I disagree with the rule and I don't care what they think - I'm gonna do whatever anyway!" So, yes, you'd likely get in trouble for having them, especially if having chickens is a violation of city/county ordinances.

Second rule - CCRs don't always address every.single.issue that may come up - they'd become too unwieldy and no one would read them. This is why many HOA bylaws and/or CCRs allow the board to establish additional rules, provided they don't contradict the Bylaws and CCRs. You might not see anything in the CCRs, but that doesn't mean there isn't a regulation somewhere on the subject. You might want to check if this community has some sort of resident handbook or something where these rules are listed.

Having chickens may seem like a traditional thing to you, but not necessarily to someone who grew up in a city (some folks in rural areas don't have them either). As a practical matter, there could also be issues with noise especially if you get a rooster), smell, poop and feathers, which could kick up someone's allergies. And then you might have a neighbor's medical bill to deal with in addition to a fine for having the birds.

So if you really want this house, you might want to attend a meeting and ask the board about this, although they don't have to promise you anything if you haven't bought the house yet. You may have to move in and then start talking to them about the vices and virtures of keeping chickens - you could volunteer to be the go-to expert on the matter and work with them in setting up rules eveveryone can live with and keep their chickens too.

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:349


06/25/2018 12:16 PM  
Chickens are NOT traditional pets.

Jeez ... what next?
EmilyB4
(Washington)

Posts:5


06/25/2018 12:22 PM  
Chickens ARE traditional pets for some! But thanks for chiming in...
EmilyB4
(Washington)

Posts:5


06/25/2018 12:23 PM  
Thanks for the reply, I'll have to see what I can find out for certain! Since I can't have farmland, this has become a make or break deal for me!
AugustinD


Posts:1045


06/25/2018 12:32 PM  
Hi Emily, this issue of having chickens as "pets" has come up a lot in recent years. I believe that, generally, the chicken owners are winning, with caveats. Like they do not get carte blanche to have as many chickens as they want. Google on Eldorado chickens HOA for some history on a recent HOA dispute where the chicken owners won and why, in this case, the appeals court sided with the chicken owners. The reasons may or may not be applicable to your case. Perhaps most importantly, if the HOA says no, you will have to decide how long you want to fight them and how much money you want to spend on attorneys for same.
EmilyB4
(Washington)

Posts:5


06/25/2018 12:41 PM  
Oh great, I'll look into that for sure! The dogs I have seen are smellier and louder than any chickens so it makes little sense dogs are allowed and chickens not...definitely something I'd fight!
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:349


06/25/2018 1:13 PM  
Chickens are NOT pets - you can no more make them into traditional pets than you can make a turkey into a traditional pet. How about a boa? Small friendly doves?

Chickens are meat and egg production animals.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:349


06/25/2018 1:16 PM  
Sorry - also wanted to point out that this is something, as a board member, I would be willing to fight until there was no recourse - to prevent.

However, if your properties are larger than five acres, it may be appropriate.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5389


06/25/2018 1:39 PM  
I wouldn't buy a home knowing in advance I'd want to break or test one of the covenants or rules.

You may have to find some other way to get your chicken fix, e.g., volunteer at a petting zoo or find a chicken ranch that'd let you visit and maybe help out with them.

I agree with George here. Remember that other residents bought there believing they wouldn't be bothered by noises like clucking or 5am rooster crowing. HOAs aren't for folks who want everything their way even if possibly annoying or disturbing their neighbors.
TimM11


Posts:166


06/25/2018 1:46 PM  
You definitely need to check city/county/etc laws about this first if you haven't already. Where I live, for example, chickens are allowed with some restrictions in residential areas, but goats wouldn't be unless the land was zoned agricultural. Depending on what local laws are like, it might not even be up to the HOA.

I do think the wording is problematic, because "traditional" is open to interpretation. It would be better for the rule to state specifically what was allowed. Nonetheless, I wouldn't go into this assuming you'd win a fight, even though I think you'd have a good argument due to the rule's lack of clarity.

EmilyB4
(Washington)

Posts:5


06/25/2018 3:43 PM  
So how would I find out who to contact to clarify? I googled my area + HOA and noting relevant came up anywhere...
AugustinD


Posts:1045


06/25/2018 3:56 PM  
Emily, contact the HOA; tell them you are a prospective buyer; and ask for a copy of its covenants. If the HOA refuses, contact the County Clerk where the HOA is, and find out how to get a copy of the recorded (with the county) covenants. Also ask the County Clerk where to find any county restrictions on pets, including chickens. Call the City clerk and ask the same question.

How big are the lots in the HOA you are considering?

Here are two recent court opinions where the argument that chickens are pets appears to have been quite persuasive. Both courts ruled in favor of the chicken owners.

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-mexico/court-of-appeals/2016/33-850.html

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-fourth-department/2014/164-ca-13-01123.html
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5389


06/25/2018 4:15 PM  
I almost always agree with Augustin, but even with promising court cases, why look for time & $-consuming trouble??
AugustinD


Posts:1045


06/25/2018 4:24 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 06/25/2018 4:15 PM
I almost always agree with Augustin, but even with promising court cases, why look for time & $-consuming trouble??


Similarly, I wish to emphasize to Emily what I wrote above: if she buys a house in the HOA and the HOA says no, she will have to decide how long she wants to fight the HOA and how much money you want to spend on attorneys for same. I think Kerry has a valid point about 'looking for trouble.' Emily, I think you should your questions answered about what is and is not allowed under the covenants, county law, and municipal law. Then consider reading the timeline of the lawsuits I mentioned (see the links I provided). Note that the trial courts actually sided with the HOAs. It took appeals for the chicken owners to win. Appeals typically take at least another 1-2 years. That's a lot of billable hours for attorneys. Judges do not usually award the prevailing party attorney's fees unless there is a specific provision in the covenants or statutes for same. Google for newspaper articles on these cases. The media often mentions how much each side has spent on attorneys. I do not say this casually, and attorneys know it well: The courts are backed up. Judges do not want to see people in court without a really good reason. One consequence is that justice goes to those with the most money. Meaning you may spend and spend on this fight.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:349


06/25/2018 4:55 PM  
CHICKENS ARE NOT PETS!!

Smiling ...however, it is an indulgent smile.

A lot we don’t know - for instance, if the neighborhood consists of five acre estates, i.e. “farmettes” it’s appropriate.

If this is a neighborhood of 1/4 - 1/2 acre like houses, it clearly, IMO, is not.

Oh, yeah, want mention, again - CHICKENS ARE NOT PETS.
AugustinD


Posts:1045


06/25/2018 5:15 PM  
Quoting from the New Mexico Court of Appeals, 2016:

~~~
We therefore disagree that Section 11 [of the covenants] disallows hens that can be and are treated as pets. And we disagree that to allow hens as household pets creates or opens up any likely circumstances of ruination as expressed by the association and the district court that warrants an interpretation that allowing the hens as pets could never have been intended at any time and under any circumstance. We are not persuaded that in permitting pet chickens "the sky will fall." Such a Chicken Little-esque view of possible results and calamity is not convincing.
...
Section 11 of the covenants cannot be enforced under the circumstances in this case to preclude the owners from keeping their hens as recognized household pets. We reverse the judgment of the district court.
~~~

This dispute had been going on for at least four years prior to the appeals court decision. IIRC, over $100,000 was spent by each side on attorneys. As fun as the academic legal arguments are, the realities of fighting such a legal battle boggle the mind and put emotions in knots.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:349


06/25/2018 8:44 PM  
CHICKENS ARE NOT PETS.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:6


06/26/2018 5:36 AM  
I'd be willing to label chickens as pets if they were kept indoors like parrots. However, most folks keep their chickens outdoors in coops or fenced areas, which clearly wouldn't fly (heh, heh) in condominium communities since the outdoors is a Common Element. Does the HOA permit homeowners to keep their dogs or cats outdoors? If not, then the issue isn't with chickens per se but with animals kept outdoors. In my community, not only do we have a restriction on the types of animals considered to be pets, animals also may not be left unattended outside the home (no tethering of dogs on the patio, for example).

I also agree with other posters re: the folly of buying in a community where you know ahead of time that something you want is likely to be a problem. If you want the aggravation and expense and ill will of at least some of your neighbors, fighting the chicken wars seems like a good way to get them.
TimM11


Posts:166


06/26/2018 6:07 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 06/25/2018 8:44 PM
CHICKENS ARE NOT PETS.




Welcome to 2018. Go yell at the courts, not us.
AugustinD


Posts:1045


06/26/2018 7:15 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/25/2018 3:56 PM
Here are two recent court opinions where the argument that chickens are pets appears to have been quite persuasive. Both courts ruled in favor of the chicken owners.

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-mexico/court-of-appeals/2016/33-850.html

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-fourth-department/2014/164-ca-13-01123.html


I am mistaken above about the New York appeals decision. The New York decision was in favor of the HOA and against the chicken owners. (Two of the appeals court's judges argued that the covenant was ambiguous and so the court should err in favor of free enjoyment of land and thus the chicken owners.)

Key paragraph in the ruling against the chicken owners:

"It is well settled that, [s]o long as the [B]oard [of directors of a homeowners' association] acts for the purposes of the [homeowners' association], within the scope of its authority and in good faith, courts will not substitute their judgment for [that of] the [B]oard[ ]' " (Spaulding Lake Club, Inc. v Haibo Jiang, 78 AD3d 1668, 1669, quoting Matter of Levandusky v One Fifth Ave. Apt. Corp., 75 NY2d 530, 538). The Declaration provides that plaintiff's Board "shall have the absolute power to prohibit a pet from being kept on the Properties, including inside residences constructed thereon." Here, plaintiff established that its Board was acting for the purposes of the homeowners' association and within the scope of its authority when it directed defendants to remove the chickens from the property. In addition, there is no evidence [*2]that defendants were " deliberately single[d] out... for harmful treatment' " inasmuch as no other residents of the subdivision had chickens or were in violation of the applicable restrictive covenant (Spaulding Lake Club, Inc., 78 AD3d at 1669), and defendants otherwise " failed to present evidence of bad faith . . . or other misconduct' "

SheilaJ1
(South Carolina)

Posts:29


06/26/2018 1:18 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 06/26/2018 7:15 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 06/25/2018 3:56 PM
Here are two recent court opinions where the argument that chickens are pets appears to have been quite persuasive. Both courts ruled in favor of the chicken owners.

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-mexico/court-of-appeals/2016/33-850.html

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-fourth-department/2014/164-ca-13-01123.html


I am mistaken above about the New York appeals decision. The New York decision was in favor of the HOA and against the chicken owners. (Two of the appeals court's judges argued that the covenant was ambiguous and so the court should err in favor of free enjoyment of land and thus the chicken owners.)

Key paragraph in the ruling against the chicken owners:

"It is well settled that, [s]o long as the [B]oard [of directors of a homeowners' association] acts for the purposes of the [homeowners' association], within the scope of its authority and in good faith, courts will not substitute their judgment for [that of] the [B]oard[ ]' " (Spaulding Lake Club, Inc. v Haibo Jiang, 78 AD3d 1668, 1669, quoting Matter of Levandusky v One Fifth Ave. Apt. Corp., 75 NY2d 530, 538). The Declaration provides that plaintiff's Board "shall have the absolute power to prohibit a pet from being kept on the Properties, including inside residences constructed thereon." Here, plaintiff established that its Board was acting for the purposes of the homeowners' association and within the scope of its authority when it directed defendants to remove the chickens from the property. In addition, there is no evidence [*2]that defendants were " deliberately single[d] out... for harmful treatment' " inasmuch as no other residents of the subdivision had chickens or were in violation of the applicable restrictive covenant (Spaulding Lake Club, Inc., 78 AD3d at 1669), and defendants otherwise " failed to present evidence of bad faith . . . or other misconduct' "



I'm confused but it does sound the first statement you made is right, not the second one.

The court favored the owner since the definition of "normal household pets" is ambiguous, so the cross motion of the defendant was granted, thus against the HOA which was trying to enforce the ambiguous covenant. The entire complaint was dismissed, so the defendants won, is that how everyone else is reading it?


AugustinD


Posts:1045


06/26/2018 4:07 PM  
Posted By SheilaJ1 on 06/26/2018 1:18 PM
Posted By AugustinD on 06/26/2018 7:15 AM
Posted By AugustinD on 06/25/2018 3:56 PM
Here are two recent court opinions where the argument that chickens are pets appears to have been quite persuasive. Both courts ruled in favor of the chicken owners.

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-mexico/court-of-appeals/2016/33-850.html

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-fourth-department/2014/164-ca-13-01123.html


I am mistaken above about the New York appeals decision. The New York decision was in favor of the HOA and against the chicken owners. (Two of the appeals court's judges argued that the covenant was ambiguous and so the court should err in favor of free enjoyment of land and thus the chicken owners.)

Key paragraph in the ruling against the chicken owners:

"It is well settled that, [s]o long as the [B]oard [of directors of a homeowners' association] acts for the purposes of the [homeowners' association], within the scope of its authority and in good faith, courts will not substitute their judgment for [that of] the [B]oard[ ]' " (Spaulding Lake Club, Inc. v Haibo Jiang, 78 AD3d 1668, 1669, quoting Matter of Levandusky v One Fifth Ave. Apt. Corp., 75 NY2d 530, 538). The Declaration provides that plaintiff's Board "shall have the absolute power to prohibit a pet from being kept on the Properties, including inside residences constructed thereon." Here, plaintiff established that its Board was acting for the purposes of the homeowners' association and within the scope of its authority when it directed defendants to remove the chickens from the property. In addition, there is no evidence [*2]that defendants were " deliberately single[d] out... for harmful treatment' " inasmuch as no other residents of the subdivision had chickens or were in violation of the applicable restrictive covenant (Spaulding Lake Club, Inc., 78 AD3d at 1669), and defendants otherwise " failed to present evidence of bad faith . . . or other misconduct' "



I'm confused but it does sound the first statement you made is right, not the second one.

The court favored the owner since the definition of "normal household pets" is ambiguous, so the cross motion of the defendant was granted, thus against the HOA which was trying to enforce the ambiguous covenant. The entire complaint was dismissed, so the defendants won, is that how everyone else is reading it?




I think my correction is appropriate. But I agree what I linked for the New York appeals court opinion is a difficult read. Here is some explanation:

1.
The opinion I linked states it is an appeal from an order "of the Supreme Court, Onondaga County." In New York, the trial courts are called "Supreme Court, xyz County." Perhaps the modifier "Supreme" is necessary to get across to New Yorkers that, yessir/ma'am, you will listen to the real court, even if it is a lowly trial court?

2.
Maybe read a second time, with attention to the fact that the opinion states that the trial court denied the plaintiff's (HOA's) motion for summary judgment and found for the defendants (chicken owners).

3.
Keep reading, and you will see the words, "We reverse." The "We" appears to me to refer to the three appeals court judges (listed near the top) making up the majority in this appeals decision. Continue reading and you come to the two appeals' court's judges' dissent (which favored the chicken owners).

This version may be a little easier to process:
https://caselaw.findlaw.com/ny-supreme-court-appellate-division/1665262.html

GeorgeS21 wants to emphasize the role lot size may play. I agree. From
http://thepreservemanliusny.com/ , it appears the lot sizes for the HOA in the above 2014 New York appeals court decision appear to average under half an acre. The lot sizes for the HOA in the 2016 New Mexico appeals court decision appear to average around 5 acres.
JerryD5
(Colorado)

Posts:203


06/26/2018 4:33 PM  
As a current HOA board president that has dealt with this issue, let me advise don't buy in the HOA. A little history in my HOA. Our HOA is made up 63 single family homes on lot sizes of 2,000-6,000 square feet (relatively no yards except common areas). Our city does allow up to 8 chickens/ducks (hens only). One homeowner was hell bent on having chickens. At the time we did not have any rules that address chickens but quickly came up with rules. We did it through our ARC guidelines and prohibited chicken coops (a requirement by the city to have chickens). She fought tooth and nail and much to her dismay, lost. Not before she called the entire board Nazis and a bunch of other choice names. We were slandered and we had our personal home information sent out in a media press release. She eventually filed a small claims court suit but lost that too. She paid for our attorney costs. 4 years later no chickens and she gave up her chicken breeding business.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:349


06/26/2018 5:24 PM  
I wasn't yelling when capping my words - it was just for emphasis.

Chickens are not pets, they are smelly, noisy food animals.

If you live on 5 acres ranchettes and the chickens are in the middle of the lot, or out of sight from the front, and can't bother your neighbors, cool.

Seriously - while I know there are some folks who believe chickens are pets, they tend to have other issues - like being hell bent to get their way on things.

This is silly .... oh yeah ...

Chickens are Not Pets
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4108


06/29/2018 12:31 AM  
Posted By EmilyB4 on 06/25/2018 11:50 AM
We are looking at buying a house with covenants. It's a big deal to me to have some animals. I don't like cats or dogs but would really love chickens and goats. The property isn't appropriate for goats, but chickens will be fine. The conditions state that no animals are allowed except for traditional pets. To some, chickens are traditional pets! It literally says nothing more than that...could I get in trouble for having them should we buy and someone decides it's a problem?


Get it in WRITING from the HOA that what you want would be approved and allowed for as long as you own the property. When in doubt CYA!!!
NoahA
(Florida)

Posts:199


07/01/2018 3:55 PM  
Find some where else to be.

Chickens are livestock period.

You'll know when you found the right neighborhood when you don't have to ask "hmm I wonder if adding chickens here would ok".

If you gotta ask about it, you already know its not going to go over too well.
Please login to post a reply (click Member Login on the menu).



Get 2 months of free community web site hosting from Community123.com!



News Articles Provided by: Community Associations Network
News, articles and blogs about condos/HOA's

Only members have access to all features.
Click here to join HOATalk for Free! Members click here to login and access all features.







General Legal Notice:  The content of forum messages are from the posting member and have not been reviewed nor endorsed by HOATalk.com.  Messages posted by HOATalk or other members are for informational purposes only, are not legal or professional advice and do not constitute an attorney-client relationship.  Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.  HOATalk is not a licensed attorney, CPA, tax advisor, financial advisor or any other licensed professional.  HOATalk accepts ads from sponsors but does not verify sponsor qualifications nor endorse/guarantee any sponsor's product or service.
HindmanSanchez Legal Notice:  (For messages posted by HindmanSanchez) This message has been prepared by HindmanSanchez for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Members of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send us confidential information unless you speak with one of our attorneys and get authorization to send that information to us. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in our firm. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in the state of Colorado only.

Legal Notice For Messages Posted by Sponsoring Attorneys: This message has been prepared by the sponsoring attorney for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Readers of HOATalk.com should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel. Please do not send any sponsoring attorney confidential information unless you speak with the sponsoring attorney or an attorney from the sponsoring attorney’s firm and get authorization to send that information to them. If you wish to initiate possible representation, please contact an attorney in the firm of the sponsoring attorney. Sponsoring attorneys that post messages here are licensed to practice law in a specific state or states as indicated in their message signature or sponsor’s profile page. (NOTE: A ‘sponsoring attorney’ is an attorney that is a HOATalk.com official sponsor and is identified as such in the posted message or on our sponsor page.)

Copyright HOA Talk.com, A Service of Community123 LLC ( Homeowners Association Discussions )   Terms Of Use  Privacy Statement