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Subject: Reasons to give board not to introduce a pet policy
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JackS15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:17


07/15/2019 8:18 PM  
So my condo board wants to introduce a pet policy so they can generate income because we are losing money. They said it's a luxury to have a oet and some are afraid of dogs.
I do not want this as i own my condo unit and feel I should not pay extra and they should just increase dues as a whole.
Also, pets do not cost the board anything. I have been telling people not to vote as they need and overwhelming percentage to vote in order for it to pass. I think its 60% and we always had a low turn out. Anyway, I am searching for additional reasons to support my cause. Thanks in advance.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8415


07/15/2019 8:53 PM  
A HOA does NOT generate income except by dues. Everything else (accept special assessments) could be subjected to taxation. Your HOA's choices to raise money to cover it's expenses is to raise dues or to have a special assessment. Otherwise, your HOA isn't doing itself any favors.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:339


07/16/2019 4:26 AM  
Posted By JackS15 on 07/15/2019 8:18 PM
So my condo board wants to introduce a pet policy so they can generate income because we are losing money. They said it's a luxury to have a oet and some are afraid of dogs.
I do not want this as i own my condo unit and feel I should not pay extra and they should just increase dues as a whole.
Also, pets do not cost the board anything. I have been telling people not to vote as they need and overwhelming percentage to vote in order for it to pass. I think its 60% and we always had a low turn out. Anyway, I am searching for additional reasons to support my cause. Thanks in advance.




Good for them. Any community that allows pets on the premises is going to have problems with some number of those pets, and the board should enact and publicize a policy that spells out exactly what is acceptable and what is not, along with the penalties for violations.

An association runs the risk of lawsuits if an owner or guest is bitten or attacked by another owner's pets. Having a policy in place and enforcing the policy is evidence that the board has not proactive in protecting the rights and safety of all owners. This is in everyone's best interest.

Most Declarations that I've seen do have some sort of pet restriction in them, and many municipalities have laws against unattended pets, too many pets, and keeping vicious animals. Any community must abide by the laws of the area that it's located in. An association can't give owners permission to do something that violates local statutes. Similarly, generally the board can't enact rules or policies that impose restrictions beyond what's in the Declaration unless the Declaration gives the board the right to do so at its own discretion or else the membership approves a more restrictive amendment to the governing docs.

As Melissa noted, fines are not a big money maker for any association, although you may or may not be able to lien and foreclose for unpaid fines (it's allowed in my state, and my Declaration said that fines are considered an assessment and thus lienable). In my experience, the fines don't even cover the amount of money spend to impose and enforce them, so the OP's board will need to find other ways to raise the needed funds.

In addition, all operating expenses that an association incurs must be included in the annual budget and spread among all owners equitably. Otherwise the rules are discriminatory and just asking for a lawsuit. My Declaration states explicitly that rolling some expenses into the annual budget will provide an advantage to some owners and a disadvantage to others (water is the big one here). So there is no legal way that I'm aware of to charge pet owners more simply for owning a pet.

(Please: don't anybody mention chickens.) :-)


CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:339


07/16/2019 4:29 AM  
Arg, my kingdom for an edit function.

Second paragraph should read:

"An association runs the risk of lawsuits if an owner or guest is bitten or attacked by another owner's pets. Having a policy in place and enforcing the policy is evidence that the board has *been* proactive in protecting the rights and safety of all owners. This is in everyone's best interest. "

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2623


07/16/2019 5:35 AM  
You may not think pets cost the board anything, but you know some owners are downright irresponsible - let them bark and bark and bark all day and not, along with pooping everywhere. And they can and do bite - the smaller dogs can be more of an issue than the big ones. Cats can be just as bad (cat pee is unbelievably stanky, and then you have the racket when they go in heat). And what will you do with the people who do want chickens, potbellied pigs and all sorts of other critters?

If money is a factor, it may be the board has seen an increase in cleaning and damage expenses from animals gone wild (because the owners don't care), and the homeowners who are allergic or have been bitten in the recent past (or present) also have rights. Why should their fees go up because pet owners (like you) haven't or refuse to make sure your animals aren't a hindrance? It may be that's what the board meant when they said generating money, but just used a bad choice of words.

There are some communities that charge a fee to pet owners because of the extra drama regarding mess - if you don't want that, be part of the solution by helping the board come up with reasonable rules. Some are simply a matter of common sense and what responsible owners already do - clean up after your pet, do not let them wander around the property without being on a leash and under the owner's control, make sure they get their shots, and watch the fur so it doesn't get everywhere. Violate those rules, owners will be responsible for damages to the common areas (and may be held liable by individual owners if Fang or Fluffy crunk out and bite someone).

However this ends, I hope you're being a responsible pet owner.
TimM11


Posts:287


07/16/2019 6:22 AM  
While I don't personally object to a reasonable pet policy, I might feel differently if I had purchased a home that didn't already have one in place.

So, your best argument against having one would be just that -- people purchase homes for various reasons, and sometimes, a lack of restrictions is one of them. If people wanted a community with those restrictions, they should have bought into one; it's not like they're rare. I'm assuming you already have local ordinances that would cover most pet-related issues anyway.
JackS15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:17


07/16/2019 10:49 AM  
Right now there is a pet policy and it is no pets allowed but a few people like me have comfort care dogs which require a doctors note. We just bout a 70k plus HVAC that has depleted all our funds.

My questions to the board so are If some of you are afraid of dogs why would you want more of them by introducing a pet policy to make money?

Wouldn't it make more sense to increase dues evenly for everyone than a lot for pet owners and a lot less for everyone else? Increasing dues and adding a pet policy at the same time is going to hit those the people with pets the hardest. Merry chirstmass now here is an exorbitant condo fee increase and several different fees for dogs that you need to pay monthly and yearly.

As someone else stated I think our best option is to do a special assessment.
JackS15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:17


07/16/2019 11:12 AM  
There is also a lot of people who are illegally renting including people on the board who are for this as it is affordable housing. There is also supposed to be a strict percentage of owners to renters which I do not think we are following as I am told we have many people who are renting. I do know if it is possible to charge people who want to illegal rent their unit because they are over the percentage of renters to owners.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2623


07/16/2019 12:19 PM  
You started this by talking about the pet policy, so please stay on topic for now and start another threat to deal with the rental issue.

Now, if making money with this pet policy is what the board members say they want, you need to take your questions to them. How will this help the association make money? You do realize that if you’re introducing a profit-making whatever, the association will have tax issues – is this worth the time and effort, as well as money that you mend up owning the IRS or state department of revenue? Do you really have that many people wanting to buy a home in this community simply because they’d be able to have a pet? And so on and so on.

You mention increasing dues and that tells me this may be the heart of your problem. I suspect your assessments are too low (typical in too many HOAs), but homeowners would raise a stink about increasing them and sack the board, so they’re thinking of other ways to develop a revenue stream (hey, we have a lot of pet owners – let’s charge them some sort of fee for having them to make money!) That, in my view is a STOOPID idea – if assessments are too low to cover current expenses you (1) take a look at the budget to see where you can cut costs and (2) increase assessments because the costs of running an association and maintaining the property are far more than they were because of inflation.

I still say a pet policy should address owner behavior because dogs, cats and all that don’t misbehave on purpose – that’s why there are obedience schools and city/county ordinances regarding pet poop, keeping dogs leased, etc. You can assess fines for violators – not to make money, but deter people from behaving badly (hitting folks in the wallet is usually a great incentive). If you’re a pet owner and don’t want to pay fines, comply with the rules.

You're a pet owner, so once again, I suggest you talk to the board and LISTEN to their concerns as well as those of your neighbors who may not have pets (it's amazing how tone-deaf some people can get regarding their animals). Some of you could offer to come up with a policy everyone can live with minus the special fee. In addition to the poop and lease issues, you may need to deal with issues such as limiting the number of pets one can have, prohibiting certain pets altogether (no emus or Burmese pythons), etc.

By the way, special assessments are usually an indicator that association resources haven’t been managed properly. The association should have a reserve fund to take care of major improvements or replacements to the common area, like roofing. If you don’t have one or it’s terribly underfunded (another big problem in HOA communities), you and your neighbors are in for a nasty surprise down the road when you’re faced with a huge repair insurance won’t cover (or there isn’t enough of it) and you don’t have money in the operating budget to pay for it either. Yes, I know this is an affordable housing community, but it needs to be maintained and people need to understand that if they want their community to remain clean, safe and attractive and get more for their homes when they finally sell them.


TimM11


Posts:287


07/16/2019 2:02 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 07/16/2019 12:19 PM

You're a pet owner, so once again, I suggest you talk to the board and LISTEN to their concerns as well as those of your neighbors who may not have pets (it's amazing how tone-deaf some people can get regarding their animals).




At the risk of being pedantic, if he has an ESA with everything by the book, it's not a pet.

From what he wrote, it sounds like the HOA doesn't allow pets, but that they are looking at doing so as a way to make some money (which doesn't seem like a great reason to do it).
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3791


07/16/2019 2:06 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 07/15/2019 8:53 PM
A HOA does NOT generate income except by dues. Everything else (accept special assessments) could be subjected to taxation. Your HOA's choices to raise money to cover it's expenses is to raise dues or to have a special assessment. Otherwise, your HOA isn't doing itself any favors.



WHAT UNIVERSE DO YOU LIVE ON???????????????

Been there, Done that
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3791


07/16/2019 2:08 PM  
Legally, you can't ban pets, you might be able to restrict the type and/or size.

Been there, Done that
JackS15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:17


07/16/2019 7:36 PM  
I think his point is creating a pet policy to profit off small amount of people to cover condo fee will create issues with your neighbors and they might hold it against them and create friction.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8563


07/17/2019 8:06 AM  
Jack

You say so they can generate income because we are losing money.

Charging for pets does not assure they will raise any money. They could end up with no pets. Also as the charge was never there, there is a question if they ca implement it.

If they need money, the only fair way is a dues increase for all. This assures the money will be there.
JackS15
(Massachusetts)

Posts:17


07/25/2019 10:40 AM  
I totally agree with you! instead of these petty fees just increase the damn monthly condo fee or a special assessment.

So now they want to start charging the homeowner for questionnaires to be completed for lenders when refinancing and selling. This is in addition to the $150 they charge for 6D certificates.
I am pretty sure I know what you are going to say but just wanted to make sure anyone else isn't already doing this. Also if they are charging this fee shouldn't it be taxed?

Thanks in adance for your help as i plan to bring this topic up in next months meeting.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2623


07/25/2019 1:16 PM  
Bring this up in a new thread so All the responses will address the questionnaire instead of the pet policy. Please stay on topic!
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