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Subject: Allow dogs at condo?
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Author Messages
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 10:23 AM  
Our condo board thinks that we should allow owners to have dogs, I'm undecided. One of the board members has a dog already, so voting against this would be uncomfortable. The assistant manager of our management company does not recommend allowing dogs. She says the cons usually outweigh the pros. What do you all think? Does the type of condo or neighborhood make a big difference?
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:527


07/30/2020 10:27 AM  
Phil

Those involved in the discussion should conduct a thorough review of the governing documents of the Association. In many cases the Declaration will spell out the number and type of common household pets which are allowed.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 10:35 AM  
Ditto what BillH10 posted: The first question I would ask is whether the Declaration speaks to dogs and other animals. If so, then to allow dogs, an amendment, voted on by the membership, may be necessary.

If dogs are allowed, the biggest problem and headache for managers that I have noted is enforcing a requirement to remove dog excrement from the common areas.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 10:49 AM  
Posted By BillH10 on 07/30/2020 10:27 AM
Phil

Those involved in the discussion should conduct a thorough review of the governing documents of the Association. In many cases the Declaration will spell out the number and type of common household pets which are allowed.




Dogs a not allowed. That's why we have to decide whether to change the rules.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 10:51 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 10:35 AM
Ditto what BillH10 posted: The first question I would ask is whether the Declaration speaks to dogs and other animals. If so, then to allow dogs, an amendment, voted on by the membership, may be necessary.

If dogs are allowed, the biggest problem and headache for managers that I have noted is enforcing a requirement to remove dog excrement from the common areas.




Getting people to remove dog crap doesn't sound too bad, I guess.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 11:33 AM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 10:49 AM
Posted By BillH10 on 07/30/2020 10:27 AM
Phil

Those involved in the discussion should conduct a thorough review of the governing documents of the Association. In many cases the Declaration will spell out the number and type of common household pets which are allowed.


Dogs a not allowed. That's why we have to decide whether to change the rules.
Sounds like a covenant, not a rule. If it's a covenant, then the board does not get to decide this.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 11:44 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 11:33 AM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 10:49 AM
Posted By BillH10 on 07/30/2020 10:27 AM
Phil

Those involved in the discussion should conduct a thorough review of the governing documents of the Association. In many cases the Declaration will spell out the number and type of common household pets which are allowed.


Dogs a not allowed. That's why we have to decide whether to change the rules.
Sounds like a covenant, not a rule. If it's a covenant, then the board does not get to decide this.





In case we can vote to allow dogs, what do people think about allowing dogs in condos?

We haven't been told by management that we can't decide on this issue, by the way.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3936


07/30/2020 11:51 AM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 10:51 AM
Getting people to remove dog crap doesn't sound too bad, I guess.

You'd be surprised.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3936


07/30/2020 11:53 AM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 11:44 AM
In case we can vote to allow dogs, what do people think about allowing dogs in condos?

We haven't been told by management that we can't decide on this issue, by the way.

What do your covenants say? Your management company might be wrong. Is "No Dogs" in your declaration of covenants? Or is it a "rule"? Both can be changed. One is harder to change than the other.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7407


07/30/2020 12:04 PM  
Pay attention to the distinction Geno makes, Phil.

You also need to know what state laws say. In CA, for instance, we must permit dogs in our condo high rise.

Problems: mainly barking. Also soiling the exterior of our building along the sidewalks. Some dog owners just won't keep them on leash, which you must require when in common areas. You must keep them out of your pool area and interior common areas. You'd need to make lots rules.

I like dogs, but if we had a choice, I wouldn't permit them in a high rise condo elevator building.n i'd say about 20-25% of residents here have dogs. We must allow two, by the way. We have no breed or size restrictions.

Are you on the Board, Phil? And, really? The Board an't vote to fine the director who's in violation y having a dog?

SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:269


07/30/2020 12:05 PM  
I would not buy into a place that does not allow dogs. With that being said, if I bought in a place that didn't allow dogs because they didn't allow dogs I would be upset if the rule was changed. Who proposed changing the rules? How many units do you have and how many have dogs? Would you allow any dogs or just dogs under a certain weight or a certain breed? If it is only a small minority that wants the rule changed I would not support changing it.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


07/30/2020 12:10 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 07/30/2020 11:53 AM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 11:44 AM
In case we can vote to allow dogs, what do people think about allowing dogs in condos?

We haven't been told by management that we can't decide on this issue, by the way.

What do your covenants say? Your management company might be wrong. Is "No Dogs" in your declaration of covenants? Or is it a "rule"? Both can be changed. One is harder to change than the other.




This will tell you how to change the "rule". I expect it is a Covenant and if so, will probably require 2/3rds or more of all owners agreeing to the change. You have to know where the "rule" is.

I would be against allowing dogs when they were not allowed originally simply because many probably chose to buy there as no dogs were allowed.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 12:27 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/30/2020 12:04 PM
Pay attention to the distinction Geno makes, Phil.

You also need to know what state laws say. In CA, for instance, we must permit dogs in our condo high rise.

Problems: mainly barking. Also soiling the exterior of our building along the sidewalks. Some dog owners just won't keep them on leash, which you must require when in common areas. You must keep them out of your pool area and interior common areas. You'd need to make lots rules.

I like dogs, but if we had a choice, I wouldn't permit them in a high rise condo elevator building.n i'd say about 20-25% of residents here have dogs. We must allow two, by the way. We have no breed or size restrictions.

Are you on the Board, Phil? And, really? The Board an't vote to fine the director who's in violation y having a dog?





Our condo is two stories high in a somewhat suburban-like neighborhood. We don't really have much lawn/grounds there though.

I am on the board. It feels uncomfortable to me to go against a board member and neighbor. I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


07/30/2020 12:40 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 12:27 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/30/2020 12:04 PM
Pay attention to the distinction Geno makes, Phil.

You also need to know what state laws say. In CA, for instance, we must permit dogs in our condo high rise.

Problems: mainly barking. Also soiling the exterior of our building along the sidewalks. Some dog owners just won't keep them on leash, which you must require when in common areas. You must keep them out of your pool area and interior common areas. You'd need to make lots rules.

I like dogs, but if we had a choice, I wouldn't permit them in a high rise condo elevator building.n i'd say about 20-25% of residents here have dogs. We must allow two, by the way. We have no breed or size restrictions.

Are you on the Board, Phil? And, really? The Board an't vote to fine the director who's in violation y having a dog?





Our condo is two stories high in a somewhat suburban-like neighborhood. We don't really have much lawn/grounds there though.

I am on the board. It feels uncomfortable to me to go against a board member and neighbor. I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.




Another BOD "scared" to enforce the rules. They were there before the owner and should be changed or adhered to. It is that simple.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:356


07/30/2020 12:42 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 12:27 PM
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/30/2020 12:04 PM
Pay attention to the distinction Geno makes, Phil.

You also need to know what state laws say. In CA, for instance, we must permit dogs in our condo high rise.

Problems: mainly barking. Also soiling the exterior of our building along the sidewalks. Some dog owners just won't keep them on leash, which you must require when in common areas. You must keep them out of your pool area and interior common areas. You'd need to make lots rules.

I like dogs, but if we had a choice, I wouldn't permit them in a high rise condo elevator building.n i'd say about 20-25% of residents here have dogs. We must allow two, by the way. We have no breed or size restrictions.

Are you on the Board, Phil? And, really? The Board an't vote to fine the director who's in violation y having a dog?





Our condo is two stories high in a somewhat suburban-like neighborhood. We don't really have much lawn/grounds there though.

I am on the board. It feels uncomfortable to me to go against a board member and neighbor. I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.




Phil I get the feeling that you aren't really hearing what the others have told you. Have you read your governing documents and if so what do they say on the subject? If you haven't you need to do so. If you knowingly let people violate a documented rule then you open yourself up to all kinds of problems down the road. If you really want help find out what your documents say and provide that information here.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 1:07 PM  
There is a Rules and Regulations document for our condo. It gives a date when the document was adopted. Under Use & Occupancy of Units it says: "Pets are not permitted."

I didn't say I have decided not to enforce the rules. I'm trying to decide whether we should change the rules.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 1:20 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 1:07 PM
There is a Rules and Regulations document for our condo. It gives a date when the document was adopted. Under Use & Occupancy of Units it says: "Pets are not permitted."

I didn't say I have decided not to enforce the rules. I'm trying to decide whether we should change the rules.
PhilK3, respectfully, until you quote what your condo's Declaration of covenants says about dogs and pets, posting advice here that is useful is not possible.

The Declaration of Covenants is different from the rules and regulations. Ask your condo's manager for a copy of the Declaration.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 1:35 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 1:20 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 1:07 PM
There is a Rules and Regulations document for our condo. It gives a date when the document was adopted. Under Use & Occupancy of Units it says: "Pets are not permitted."

I didn't say I have decided not to enforce the rules. I'm trying to decide whether we should change the rules.
PhilK3, respectfully, until you quote what your condo's Declaration of covenants says about dogs and pets, posting advice here that is useful is not possible.

The Declaration of Covenants is different from the rules and regulations. Ask your condo's manager for a copy of the Declaration.




OK. I'll look into that.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3936


07/30/2020 1:37 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 12:27 PM
I am on the board. It feels uncomfortable to me to go against a board member and neighbor. I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.

With all due respect, if you're unwilling to do the right thing and either (1) enforce your covenants and rules & regulations, and (2) properly make changes to the covenants and/or rules.... then you should seriously consider resigning from your board of directors.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:548


07/30/2020 1:43 PM  
As a board member you have accepted a position and an obligation to make decisions on the basis of what is best for your community, not on the basis of what is or isn't 'uncomfortable' with respect to another board member.

If you remove your concern for the other board member, what do you think is best for your condominium?
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:356


07/30/2020 1:43 PM  
Posted By GenoS on 07/30/2020 1:37 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 12:27 PM
I am on the board. It feels uncomfortable to me to go against a board member and neighbor. I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.

With all due respect, if you're unwilling to do the right thing and either (1) enforce your covenants and rules & regulations, and (2) properly make changes to the covenants and/or rules.... then you should seriously consider resigning from your board of directors.




Amen. If board members can't follow the rules then residents should ban together and throw them out.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:548


07/30/2020 1:45 PM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 07/30/2020 1:43 PM
Posted By GenoS on 07/30/2020 1:37 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 12:27 PM
I am on the board. It feels uncomfortable to me to go against a board member and neighbor. I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.

With all due respect, if you're unwilling to do the right thing and either (1) enforce your covenants and rules & regulations, and (2) properly make changes to the covenants and/or rules.... then you should seriously consider resigning from your board of directors.




Amen. If board members can't follow the rules then residents should ban together and throw them out.




Phil said:
"I didn't say I have decided not to enforce the rules. I'm trying to decide whether we should change the rules."
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 1:47 PM  
I have a document of Declaration and By-Laws. In the Declaration section, Use Restrictions it says: "No animals of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept in any Unit...except that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board." The Rules and Regulations, as I wrote before, say pets are not permitted.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 1:55 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 12:27 PM
I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.
The possibilities here are multiple. Depending on the circumstances, the law may be either on the dog owner's side or it may be on the side of any covenant that prohibits dogs. To give meaningful advice, this forum needs to know what the Declaration of Covenant says; whether other owners have dogs; and how long these dogs have been on the premises.

Because your insinuation (intended or not) is correct: The courts are less likely to order an owner to get rid of her or his dog if there is a covenant (not a mere "rule") prohibiting dogs but the covenant has not been enforced for many years.

And since hoatalk[dot]com is never boring, if a dog is a bona fide service animal to help with an owner's disability, this changes everything. This forum has had discussions on this topic many times. Federal (and often state) Fair Housing law favors the disabled owner's right to a reasonable accommodation.

As your time and interest allow, I look forward to your providing more information.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 2:01 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 1:47 PM
I have a document of Declaration and By-Laws. In the Declaration section, Use Restrictions it says: "No animals of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept in any Unit...except that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board." The Rules and Regulations, as I wrote before, say pets are not permitted.
Excellent. This is way helpful.

My take:

First, the rule (not covenant) flat-out prohibiting dogs is likely unlawful. I write this based on a lot of reading. But let's see what others say here.

Second, your board can lawfully change the rule. In my opinion what it should do is add several rules about what is required to own a dog. For example:

Barking that becomes a nuisance can and will result in fines against the owner. [Assuming your documents allow fines.)

All dogs must be on a leash at all times when in the common areas. No exceptions, ever.

All dog solid waste must be picked up immediately after emitted. Failure to do so will result in a fine of $1000 per incident. No exceptions.






PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 2:05 PM  
Posted By JeffT2 on 07/30/2020 1:45 PM
Posted By JohnT38 on 07/30/2020 1:43 PM
Posted By GenoS on 07/30/2020 1:37 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 12:27 PM
I am on the board. It feels uncomfortable to me to go against a board member and neighbor. I guess he knew the rules when he moved in but I imagine it would be hard to have to get rid of your dog.

With all due respect, if you're unwilling to do the right thing and either (1) enforce your covenants and rules & regulations, and (2) properly make changes to the covenants and/or rules.... then you should seriously consider resigning from your board of directors.



Maybe I should resign from the board. I'm not good at making uncomfortable decisions but the other board members haven't said anything about penalizing the dog owner either.

It's hard to get people to join the board. There was a period of time when there was only one board member and important repairs were not being done. I joined the board because I was asked and because I want to know that the maintenance of this condo isn't being neglected.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 2:08 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 2:01 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 1:47 PM
I have a document of Declaration and By-Laws. In the Declaration section, Use Restrictions it says: "No animals of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept in any Unit...except that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board." The Rules and Regulations, as I wrote before, say pets are not permitted.
Excellent. This is way helpful.

My take:

First, the rule (not covenant) flat-out prohibiting dogs is likely unlawful. I write this based on a lot of reading. But let's see what others say here.

Second, your board can lawfully change the rule. In my opinion what it should do is add several rules about what is required to own a dog. For example:

Barking that becomes a nuisance can and will result in fines against the owner. [Assuming your documents allow fines.)

All dogs must be on a leash at all times when in the common areas. No exceptions, ever.

All dog solid waste must be picked up immediately after emitted. Failure to do so will result in a fine of $1000 per incident. No exceptions.


Thank you.






KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7407


07/30/2020 2:29 PM  
How many units are there, Phil?

And since you don't seem to be an elevator building, residents fearful of dogs won't get stuck on an elevator with one.

Other rules: Dogs must never be locked out of the unit (on say, a balcony or patio).

Dogs not permitted to do their business in common area planters or grass (depending on your set up)

Dogs not permitted in pool area or common area amenities, (e.g. clubhouse; party rooms; gym)
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 2:47 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/30/2020 2:29 PM
How many units are there, Phil?

And since you don't seem to be an elevator building, residents fearful of dogs won't get stuck on an elevator with one.

Other rules: Dogs must never be locked out of the unit (on say, a balcony or patio).

Dogs not permitted to do their business in common area planters or grass (depending on your set up)

Dogs not permitted in pool area or common area amenities, (e.g. clubhouse; party rooms; gym)





There are 30 units. No elevator or balconies. There are no common areas (lobby, clubhouse, etc.) except small grassy areas at the far end of the two buildings.

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


07/30/2020 3:19 PM  
Phil,

This is an issue that affects everyone.

Delay the vote until a poll of the membership can be obtained.



Additionally, if the no dogs allowed is in the covenants, the membership must be the ones who change the restriction as the covenants will need to be amended.

If the no dogs allowed is in a resolution/rules, then this is something the board can change - but I would take a poll prior to changing it.
KimberlyW2
(Tennessee)

Posts:38


07/30/2020 3:32 PM  
Except they will not remove dog crap. And you haven't even addressed how dog urine will kill the grass in your common areas. Or what you do if someone brings in a " bully " breed? And, that dog attacks another dog or a person.

If you don't have a healthy HOA - and it sounds like you do not- do you really expect people to care enough to pick up after their dog?? Or stop their dog from barking?

They make DNA tests for dog poop for a reason. Don't go down this road if you don't have to. Just don't do it. Let the rule stand.

K.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 3:36 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 07/30/2020 3:19 PM
Phil,

This is an issue that affects everyone.

Delay the vote until a poll of the membership can be obtained.



Additionally, if the no dogs allowed is in the covenants, the membership must be the ones who change the restriction as the covenants will need to be amended.

If the no dogs allowed is in a resolution/rules, then this is something the board can change - but I would take a poll prior to changing it.




Are covenants the same thing as the declaration?

You mean poll all the owners in the condominium?
KimberlyW2
(Tennessee)

Posts:38


07/30/2020 3:40 PM  
Except they will not remove dog crap. And you haven't even addressed how dog urine will kill the grass in your common areas. Or what you do if someone brings in a " bully " breed? And, that dog attacks another dog or a person.

If you don't have a healthy HOA - and it sounds like you do not- do you really expect people to care enough to pick up after their dog?? Or stop their dog from barking?

They make DNA tests for dog poop for a reason. Don't go down this road if you don't have to. Just don't do it. Let the rule stand.

K.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


07/30/2020 4:10 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 1:47 PM
I have a document of Declaration and By-Laws. In the Declaration section, Use Restrictions it says: "No animals of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept in any Unit...except that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board." The Rules and Regulations, as I wrote before, say pets are not permitted.




If you are explaining it properly, the Covenants/Deed Restrictions/Declarations/whatever called (basically all the same thing) do say no animals of any kind but yet the BOD/Executive Committee (same thing) can override this.

Thus the BOD/Executive Committee can allow such. This opens a whole new Pandora's Box such as amount, type, breed, weight, etc. Good luck with that.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2921


07/30/2020 4:31 PM  
Nip this in the bud.

Here’s the issue, right? “One of the board members has a dog already, ...”

Uphold your covenants ... stop playing to the one person who has chosen to violate them.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 4:34 PM  
Posted By KimberlyW2 on 07/30/2020 3:40 PM
Except they will not remove dog crap. And you haven't even addressed how dog urine will kill the grass in your common areas. Or what you do if someone brings in a " bully " breed? And, that dog attacks another dog or a person.

If you don't have a healthy HOA - and it sounds like you do not- do you really expect people to care enough to pick up after their dog?? Or stop their dog from barking?

They make DNA tests for dog poop for a reason. Don't go down this road if you don't have to. Just don't do it. Let the rule stand.

K.




I have the feeling most of you prefer dog-free condos.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 4:41 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 07/30/2020 4:10 PM

If you are explaining it properly, the Covenants/Deed Restrictions/Declarations/whatever called (basically all the same thing) do say no animals of any kind but yet the BOD/Executive Committee (same thing) can override this.
No. The OP's Declaration of Covenants says "... that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board... " Here is the excerpt that the OP went to some trouble AFAIC to locate:
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 1:47 PM
In the Declaration section, Use Restrictions it says: "No animals of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept in any Unit...except that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board." .


PhilK3, covenants and Declaration are one in the same. The usual long phrase encompassing both is, "Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions." In a court of law, the Declaration of Covenants legally trumps any rules and regulations that a condo board creates.

PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 4:43 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 07/30/2020 4:31 PM
Nip this in the bud.

Here’s the issue, right? “One of the board members has a dog already, ...”

Uphold your covenants ... stop playing to the one person who has chosen to violate them.





The other two non-dog owning members support allowing dogs. Unless I convince them otherwise, they have the majority (three votes to one). I'm not sure if I want dogs in our condo or not. It's a potential hassle but do we want to deprive someone the pleasure of having a dog? Many people have dogs.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 4:45 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:34 PM
I have the feeling most of you prefer dog-free condos.
I do not think so. But I do have the feeling that several of the beloved veterans here at hoatalk are not reading your responses.

If you hang in there, I think the discussion will start to sort itself out.

I stand by my position that the Board is violating the covenants when it flat-out prohibits dogs.

Does your board have an attorney it can consult on the point?
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 4:49 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 4:41 PM
Posted By JohnC46 on 07/30/2020 4:10 PM

If you are explaining it properly, the Covenants/Deed Restrictions/Declarations/whatever called (basically all the same thing) do say no animals of any kind but yet the BOD/Executive Committee (same thing) can override this.
No. The OP's Declaration of Covenants says "... that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board... " Here is the excerpt that the OP went to some trouble AFAIC to locate:
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 1:47 PM
In the Declaration section, Use Restrictions it says: "No animals of any kind shall be raised, bred or kept in any Unit...except that household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board." .


PhilK3, covenants and Declaration are one in the same. The usual long phrase encompassing both is, "Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions." In a court of law, the Declaration of Covenants legally trumps any rules and regulations that a condo board creates.





Are you saying that the board can make rules that make exceptions to the declarations but the rules would not stand up if challenged in court? If so, how can declarations be changed?
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 5:00 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 4:45 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:34 PM
I have the feeling most of you prefer dog-free condos.
I do not think so. But I do have the feeling that several of the beloved veterans here at hoatalk are not reading your responses.

If you hang in there, I think the discussion will start to sort itself out.

I stand by my position that the Board is violating the covenants when it flat-out prohibits dogs.

Does your board have an attorney it can consult on the point?




So the when the declaration says: "household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board" that means pets (dogs) can be kept? The Board rules say no pets at all, which seems extreme.

When I have asked the management company about advice from a lawyer in the past they said we'd have to pay for one. I don't know if we should expect free or a discount on legal advice. It doesn't seem like the management company have a lawyer handy for quick referral.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 5:07 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 4:45 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:34 PM
I have the feeling most of you prefer dog-free condos.
I do not think so. But I do have the feeling that several of the beloved veterans here at hoatalk are not reading your responses.

If you hang in there, I think the discussion will start to sort itself out.

I stand by my position that the Board is violating the covenants when it flat-out prohibits dogs.

Does your board have an attorney it can consult on the point?




Maybe the management company would be able to advise us on our declaration. I'll have to ask.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7407


07/30/2020 5:08 PM  
Phil, Are there exterior private stairways to every 2nd floor condo? If not, and there are interior stairwells & hallways these ARE common areas.

And the hallways & stairwells can feel scary to someone who is nervous about dogs and a resident passes by them with a dog. And dog do throw up on the common areas and worse. Your new rules, if you all dogs, need to include fines or cost of clean-up being assessed to the unit owner whose dog or whose tenant's dog damages common areas.

Since your Board can vote to make a rule permitting dogs, the director in violation of the existing rule has a conflict of interest and should not vote.

A survey of all owners is a very good idea!!!

Yes, Associations can deprive owners of owning dogs, and of playing loud music, and form having musical equipment or other devises that cause floor vibrations, and certain types of hard surface floors, and of many other pleasures

AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 6:00 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:49 PM
Are you saying that the board can make rules that make exceptions to the declarations but the rules would not stand up if challenged in court?
Yes: The courts and often state statutes says that board-created rules that violate the covenants are unlawful.

There is a hierarchy of HOA laws that goes roughly like this:

Federal laws
State laws
Municipal laws
HOA Declaration of Covenants
HOA Articles of Incorporation
HOA Bylaws
HOA Rules and Regulations

The reason the Covenants (= Declaration; same thing) trumps the rules and regs is because the courts view covenants as contractual terms that all owners agreed to when they bought into the HOA. Per the terms of each Declaration, Covenants may only be changed by agreement of a majority or super-majority (depends on the HOA) of the HOA owners.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:49 PM
If so, how can declarations be changed?
Your Declaration should state its own amendment procedure. Nationwide, typically the Declaration may be amended only by a 2/3rds or higher vote of all owners. Check your Declaration to see the exact number required to amend the Declaration.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 5:00 PM
So when the declaration says: "household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board" that means pets (dogs) can be kept?
The above is my interpretation, based on reading quite a lot of case law. The wording used in this covenant is not legally trivial. Your board and manager are treating it as legally trivial. They are naive.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 5:00 PM
The Board rules say no pets at all, which seems extreme.
You got it; that's how the courts would see it too. (I think the courts would review the case law and say a lot more indicating its displeasure with the board's "reasoning.") At best, one might argue that the statement "household pets may be kept..., subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board" is ambiguous. When a contractual term is ambiguous, the courts rule in favor of the party that did not write the contract. Or specifically when it comes to covenants, when the covenant is ambiguous, the courts rule in favor of 'free enjoyment of property.' That means doggies are welcome at your condo, subject to reasonable rules made by the board. (I am not even a dog person. Though I like playing with my friends' dogs. Plus I profane the nuisance of dog barking.

To read the statement "household pets may be kept..., subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board" as saying the Executive Board may simply create a rule saying, "household pets may not be kept. Sorry suckers... " is unfair.

The past 20 years has seen a lot of HOA case law about political signs. In many states and HOAs, the bottom line is that political signs are allowed, but the HOA/condo may regulate them. Does this mean the HOA/condo can, via "regulation," prohibit signs? No. Where political signs are allowed, it means the HOA/Condo can make /reasonable/ rules about signage, pertaining to size or where they are displayed, but not flat-out prohibit these signs.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 5:00 PM
When I have asked the management company about advice from a lawyer in the past they said we'd have to pay for one. I don't know if we should expect free or a discount on legal advice. It doesn't seem like the management company have a lawyer handy for quick referral.


The board should be in charge of hiring a HOA/condo attorney. The management company need not be involved at all.

Based on your management company's (frankly) ignorance about the covenants, I would not use it as a source of advice on the issue of dogs at your condominium.

I am dumping a lot of law on you all at once. What I advise is that you say to this board the following:

-- I understand the covenants trump the rules and regulations.

-- I believe the covenant on household pets does not allow the board to prohibit any household pet, including dogs. Look, you can't say, "household pets may be kept" in a controlling document like the covenants and then write a rule that says, "household pets may not be kept."

-- I believe the covenant on household pets allows the boards to regulate the presence of household pets. Here are the regulations I understand are common for condominiums: [List what KerryL1 and others suggested, where they are applicable to the design of your condominium.]

I could care less who is a dog owner and who is not. I am interested in complying with the covenants.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 6:18 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 6:00 PM
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:49 PM
Are you saying that the board can make rules that make exceptions to the declarations but the rules would not stand up if challenged in court?
Yes: The courts and often state statutes says that board-created rules that violate the covenants are unlawful.

There is a hierarchy of HOA laws that goes roughly like this:

Federal laws
State laws
Municipal laws
HOA Declaration of Covenants
HOA Articles of Incorporation
HOA Bylaws
HOA Rules and Regulations

The reason the Covenants (= Declaration; same thing) trumps the rules and regs is because the courts view covenants as contractual terms that all owners agreed to when they bought into the HOA. Per the terms of each Declaration, Covenants may only be changed by agreement of a majority or super-majority (depends on the HOA) of the HOA owners.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:49 PM
If so, how can declarations be changed?
Your Declaration should state its own amendment procedure. Nationwide, typically the Declaration may be amended only by a 2/3rds or higher vote of all owners. Check your Declaration to see the exact number required to amend the Declaration.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 5:00 PM
So when the declaration says: "household pets may be kept...,subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board" that means pets (dogs) can be kept?
The above is my interpretation, based on reading quite a lot of case law. The wording used in this covenant is not legally trivial. Your board and manager are treating it as legally trivial. They are naive.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 5:00 PM
The Board rules say no pets at all, which seems extreme.
You got it; that's how the courts would see it too. (I think the courts would review the case law and say a lot more indicating its displeasure with the board's "reasoning.") At best, one might argue that the statement "household pets may be kept..., subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board" is ambiguous. When a contractual term is ambiguous, the courts rule in favor of the party that did not write the contract. Or specifically when it comes to covenants, when the covenant is ambiguous, the courts rule in favor of 'free enjoyment of property.' That means doggies are welcome at your condo, subject to reasonable rules made by the board. (I am not even a dog person. Though I like playing with my friends' dogs. Plus I profane the nuisance of dog barking.

To read the statement "household pets may be kept..., subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board" as saying the Executive Board may simply create a rule saying, "household pets may not be kept. Sorry suckers... " is unfair.

The past 20 years has seen a lot of HOA case law about political signs. In many states and HOAs, the bottom line is that political signs are allowed, but the HOA/condo may regulate them. Does this mean the HOA/condo can, via "regulation," prohibit signs? No. Where political signs are allowed, it means the HOA/Condo can make /reasonable/ rules about signage, pertaining to size or where they are displayed, but not flat-out prohibit these signs.

Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 5:00 PM
When I have asked the management company about advice from a lawyer in the past they said we'd have to pay for one. I don't know if we should expect free or a discount on legal advice. It doesn't seem like the management company have a lawyer handy for quick referral.


The board should be in charge of hiring a HOA/condo attorney. The management company need not be involved at all.

Based on your management company's (frankly) ignorance about the covenants, I would not use it as a source of advice on the issue of dogs at your condominium.

I am dumping a lot of law on you all at once. What I advise is that you say to this board the following:

-- I understand the covenants trump the rules and regulations.

-- I believe the covenant on household pets does not allow the board to prohibit any household pet, including dogs. Look, you can't say, "household pets may be kept" in a controlling document like the covenants and then write a rule that says, "household pets may not be kept."

-- I believe the covenant on household pets allows the boards to regulate the presence of household pets. Here are the regulations I understand are common for condominiums: [List what KerryL1 and others suggested, where they are applicable to the design of your condominium.]

I could care less who is a dog owner and who is not. I am interested in complying with the covenants.




Thank you for all the work you did on this!
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 6:20 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/30/2020 5:08 PM
Phil, Are there exterior private stairways to every 2nd floor condo? If not, and there are interior stairwells & hallways these ARE common areas.

And the hallways & stairwells can feel scary to someone who is nervous about dogs and a resident passes by them with a dog. And dog do throw up on the common areas and worse. Your new rules, if you all dogs, need to include fines or cost of clean-up being assessed to the unit owner whose dog or whose tenant's dog damages common areas.

Since your Board can vote to make a rule permitting dogs, the director in violation of the existing rule has a conflict of interest and should not vote.

A survey of all owners is a very good idea!!!

Yes, Associations can deprive owners of owning dogs, and of playing loud music, and form having musical equipment or other devises that cause floor vibrations, and certain types of hard surface floors, and of many other pleasures





Yes the exterior doors to the second floor condos are private.

Thanks, you've given me some things to think about.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16852


07/30/2020 6:44 PM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 3:36 PM




Are covenants the same thing as the declaration?




Yes


Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 3:36 PM



You mean poll all the owners in the condominium?




Yes

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:7407


07/30/2020 6:46 PM  
What I was asking, Phil, is are there interior hallways to access units? Are there interior stairwells to the second floor? Or exterior stairwells.

Yes, the doors to enter our condo units are "private" too, but the exterior of our doors, which open to interior hallways are the HOA's responsibility.

I was trying too show that you probably have common areas that you/your board may not be aware of. As a Board you must protect these and one way is to consider any damage pets could do to the common areas and make rules about them.

Not long ago, we ha a ondo owner complain here that a neighbor brushed and groomed his dog every day in the common area hallways and the fur and dander was disgusting.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/30/2020 7:13 PM  
The following is not controlling case law in Pennsylvania, but I think it does show how appeals courts think about the issues under discussion here:

2014, New York, Preserve Homeowners' Assn., Inc. v Zhan
(regarding chickens as "household pets"; board's authority to fully ban certain household pets vs. what the covenants say; more)

=== Start Excerpts from Appeals Court Decision ===

Here, the relevant restrictive covenant states in its entirety that "[n]o animals, livestock, or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred, or kept on the Properties, except that no more than a total of two (2) dogs, cats, or other normal household pets may be kept in residences subject to rules and regulations adopted by [plaintiff] through its Board of Directors, provided that such pets are not kept, bred, or maintained for any commercial purpose and provided that pet waste shall be removed from the Lot and/or the Common Area by the owner of such pet. The Board shall have the absolute power to prohibit a pet from being kept on the Properties, including inside residences constructed thereon."

There is no dispute that, subject to the limitations of the restrictive covenant, up to two household pets may be kept on each property encumbered by the restrictive covenant. Affording the least restrictive interpretation of the phrase "normal household pets," we conclude that there is no evidence in the record that chickens are not "normal household pets" within the meaning of the restrictive covenant.

The issue is whether that part of the restrictive covenant declaring that plaintiff's Board of Directors (hereafter, Board) has "absolute power to prohibit a pet from being kept on the Properties" applies to the "two... dogs, cats or other normal household pets" permitted by the covenant, or whether such power applies only to pets outside the two "dog[], cat[] or other normal household pet[]" limit. In our view, the restrictive covenant is unclear as to the scope of power of the Board, i.e., the restrictive covenant does not specify whether the Board is empowered to prohibit only a pet or pets beyond the two-pet limit, or whether the Board can prohibit the keeping of any pet on defendants' property. Indeed, under plaintiff's interpretation of the restrictive covenant, the Board's power to determine the pets not permitted on defendants' property would be so broad as to allow the Board to regulate and to discriminate by breed, mix, color or gender, and we decline to read the restrictive covenant to permit such selectivity and disparate treatment. Under plaintiff's interpretation, any animal of which the Board disapproves can be prohibited regardless whether it is a "normal household pet." Apparently, without offering any rationale, the Board is free to determine "absolute[ly]" what constitutes a "normal household pet." In our view, the restrictive covenant is ambiguous under any fair reading and, thus, the ambiguity must be resolved against plaintiff, i.e., the party seeking to enforce it (see Ludwig, 5 AD3d at 1120). We would therefore affirm the order granting defendants' cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

[In other words, the chicken owners won the lawsuit. The HOA lost.]

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-fourth-department/2014/164-ca-13-01123.html
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/30/2020 7:16 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/30/2020 6:46 PM
What I was asking, Phil, is are there interior hallways to access units? Are there interior stairwells to the second floor? Or exterior stairwells.

Yes, the doors to enter our condo units are "private" too, but the exterior of our doors, which open to interior hallways are the HOA's responsibility.

I was trying too show that you probably have common areas that you/your board may not be aware of. As a Board you must protect these and one way is to consider any damage pets could do to the common areas and make rules about them.

Not long ago, we ha a ondo owner complain here that a neighbor brushed and groomed his dog every day in the common area hallways and the fur and dander was disgusting.




The outside doors to all our units are private, not shared. There are no shared (common) doors. The owner walks from the parking lot to the door to their unit, opens the door with their key; goes inside and goes up the stairs to their unit. The stairway is private. No other owner has access to it. There is no common hallway. There are no hallways at all in our building. I hope that makes sense. I think I answered your question.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/31/2020 5:38 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 7:13 PM
The following is not controlling case law in Pennsylvania, but I think it does show how appeals courts think about the issues under discussion here:

2014, New York, Preserve Homeowners' Assn., Inc. v Zhan
(regarding chickens as "household pets"; board's authority to fully ban certain household pets vs. what the covenants say; more)

=== Start Excerpts from Appeals Court Decision ===

Here, the relevant restrictive covenant states in its entirety that "[n]o animals, livestock, or poultry of any kind shall be raised, bred, or kept on the Properties, except that no more than a total of two (2) dogs, cats, or other normal household pets may be kept in residences subject to rules and regulations adopted by [plaintiff] through its Board of Directors, provided that such pets are not kept, bred, or maintained for any commercial purpose and provided that pet waste shall be removed from the Lot and/or the Common Area by the owner of such pet. The Board shall have the absolute power to prohibit a pet from being kept on the Properties, including inside residences constructed thereon."

There is no dispute that, subject to the limitations of the restrictive covenant, up to two household pets may be kept on each property encumbered by the restrictive covenant. Affording the least restrictive interpretation of the phrase "normal household pets," we conclude that there is no evidence in the record that chickens are not "normal household pets" within the meaning of the restrictive covenant.

The issue is whether that part of the restrictive covenant declaring that plaintiff's Board of Directors (hereafter, Board) has "absolute power to prohibit a pet from being kept on the Properties" applies to the "two... dogs, cats or other normal household pets" permitted by the covenant, or whether such power applies only to pets outside the two "dog[], cat[] or other normal household pet[]" limit. In our view, the restrictive covenant is unclear as to the scope of power of the Board, i.e., the restrictive covenant does not specify whether the Board is empowered to prohibit only a pet or pets beyond the two-pet limit, or whether the Board can prohibit the keeping of any pet on defendants' property. Indeed, under plaintiff's interpretation of the restrictive covenant, the Board's power to determine the pets not permitted on defendants' property would be so broad as to allow the Board to regulate and to discriminate by breed, mix, color or gender, and we decline to read the restrictive covenant to permit such selectivity and disparate treatment. Under plaintiff's interpretation, any animal of which the Board disapproves can be prohibited regardless whether it is a "normal household pet." Apparently, without offering any rationale, the Board is free to determine "absolute[ly]" what constitutes a "normal household pet." In our view, the restrictive covenant is ambiguous under any fair reading and, thus, the ambiguity must be resolved against plaintiff, i.e., the party seeking to enforce it (see Ludwig, 5 AD3d at 1120). We would therefore affirm the order granting defendants' cross motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

[In other words, the chicken owners won the lawsuit. The HOA lost.]

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




Thanks. I'm not sure I want dogs at our condo. I hope no one tries to take us to court if we don't want to allow them. I suspect most people won't know enough about the law to do so or won't want to go to the trouble.
KimberlyW2
(Tennessee)

Posts:38


07/31/2020 8:36 AM  
Posted By PhilK3 on 07/30/2020 4:34 PM
Posted By KimberlyW2 on 07/30/2020 3:40 PM
Except they will not remove dog crap. And you haven't even addressed how dog urine will kill the grass in your common areas. Or what you do if someone brings in a " bully " breed? And, that dog attacks another dog or a person.

If you don't have a healthy HOA - and it sounds like you do not- do you really expect people to care enough to pick up after their dog?? Or stop their dog from barking?

They make DNA tests for dog poop for a reason. Don't go down this road if you don't have to. Just don't do it. Let the rule stand.

K.




I have the feeling most of you prefer dog-free condos.




I love dogs. I love all animals. I live in a condo community where there are dogs. A lot of dogs of all breeds and weight. No one picks up after their dogs. You literally can't walk through the grass without stepping on piles of dog poop. It is nearly impossible to give a violation fine over dog poop when owners and owner tenants refuse to clean up after their dogs. How do you prove which pile of poop belongs to which dog?? How do you enforce it? And don't get me started on the dead grass. Again, I love dogs. But, my community is small but nearly all have a dog or 2 or 3! That is a lot of poop. It builds up after time. Especially in the winter months. It stinks to high heaven! If you only have 2 small grassy areas for dogs to relieve themselves on, you have given up those small grassy areas to the dogs forever.

K.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


07/31/2020 9:11 AM  
Posted By KimberlyW2 on 07/31/2020 8:36 AM
Posted By PhilK3 on



I love dogs. I love all animals. I live in a condo community where there are dogs. A lot of dogs of all breeds and weight. No one picks up after their dogs. You literally can't walk through the grass without stepping on piles of dog poop. It is nearly impossible to give a violation fine over dog poop when owners and owner tenants refuse to clean up after their dogs. How do you prove which pile of poop belongs to which dog?? How do you enforce it? And don't get me started on the dead grass. Again, I love dogs. But, my community is small but nearly all have a dog or 2 or 3! That is a lot of poop. It builds up after time. Especially in the winter months. It stinks to high heaven! If you only have 2 small grassy areas for dogs to relieve themselves on, you have given up those small grassy areas to the dogs forever.

K.




Sounds bad. I'm not sure how I will vote on this. I'm leaning toward no dogs. I wish I didn't have to decide this. I think I'd like it if we polled the owners and they voted no.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2921


07/31/2020 9:45 AM  
Hmmm ... I'll try and summarize:

- your covenants allow dogs, but
- there is a statement in the doc that reads, in part, "subject to Rules and Regulations adopted by the Executive Board"
- the Rules and Regs say, per your post, "pets are not permitted"

Augustin knows the law far better than I. I look more for intent and examine the how and why of any restriction exists and has been supported - i.e. there must be a reason.

Perhaps the reason(s) is(are) per the downsides of dogs in confined areas with various opinions on having them there.

I can tell you, that for all the discussion supporting dogs, and the owners who always talk about how careful they are about their pets's wastes, I see a LOT of pet waste and a LOT of owners ignoring rules.

If you don't want the problems pets incur, don't allow them - this can be accomplished, in your case, by sticking by the Rules that tie back to the allowance for rules in your covenants document.

BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:527


07/31/2020 9:54 AM  
Phil

In my opinion there is no voting to be done. Your covenants clearly state a common household pet may be kept. Unless and until the language in that paragraph is changed, a dog (or cat, or bird, etc.) may be kept and there is absolutely nothing the Board can do about it until the language is changed. Even then you could be faced with the requirement to grandfather existing permitted pets.

The language can be changed but it would be a long, hard, uphill slog. Those who may not agree with allowing pets may change their tune when confronted with the fact a no pet rule will automatically reduce the pool of available buyers when a unit is listed for sale.

What can and should be done is the Board should craft reasonable, enforceable, rules regarding pets, including removing the existing rule. Doing so is within the purview of the Board. No 2/3 majority of the owners or whatever vote is required. You may wish to poll the owners, or create a draft document you circulate to the owners for comment and input.

I refer you back to my original post: you and the others on the Board must read and understand your governing documents, i.e., the Bylaws, Covenants, Declarations, or whatever they may be titled. Your locally developed rules are controlled by the documents, not the other way around. If they say common household pets are permitted, they are permitted and no rule may be written which would deny that right to an owner.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9690


07/31/2020 10:06 AM  
Posted By BillH10 on 07/31/2020 9:54 AM
Phil

In my opinion there is no voting to be done. Your covenants clearly state a common household pet may be kept. Unless and until the language in that paragraph is changed, a dog (or cat, or bird, etc.) may be kept and there is absolutely nothing the Board can do about it until the language is changed. Even then you could be faced with the requirement to grandfather existing permitted pets.

The language can be changed but it would be a long, hard, uphill slog. Those who may not agree with allowing pets may change their tune when confronted with the fact a no pet rule will automatically reduce the pool of available buyers when a unit is listed for sale.

What can and should be done is the Board should craft reasonable, enforceable, rules regarding pets, including removing the existing rule. Doing so is within the purview of the Board. No 2/3 majority of the owners or whatever vote is required. You may wish to poll the owners, or create a draft document you circulate to the owners for comment and input.

I refer you back to my original post: you and the others on the Board must read and understand your governing documents, i.e., the Bylaws, Covenants, Declarations, or whatever they may be titled. Your locally developed rules are controlled by the documents, not the other way around. If they say common household pets are permitted, they are permitted and no rule may be written which would deny that right to an owner.




While I initially disagreed with your interpretation, I now believe you are correct. The Declaration/Covenants allows household pets subject to BOD (Executive Comm) Rues and Regulations. I say the BOD cannot ban them but the BOD can make Rules and Regulations concerning/controlling them.

We had a similar go around in one HOA where out building were allowed but the ARC/BOD would not approve any and they had to approve any. It got in the lawyers hands and the decision was the ARC/BOD was "defacto" prohibiting them by never approving any. The results were a bit ugly, but another story.
AugustinD


Posts:3688


07/31/2020 10:50 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 07/30/2020 7:13 PM
The following is not controlling case law in Pennsylvania, but I think it does show how appeals courts think about the issues under discussion here:

2014, New York, Preserve Homeowners' Assn., Inc. v Zhan
(regarding chickens as "household pets"; board's authority to fully ban certain household pets vs. what the covenants say; more)

[snip for brevity an excerpt from what turns out to be the minority dissenting opinion]

[In other words, the chicken owners won the lawsuit. The HOA lost.]

https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-fourth-department/2014/164-ca-13-01123.html
My bad; I misread. The chicken owners lost. What I quoted was from a two-judge dissent. Three judges in this NY appeals court case said that the HOA had the right to ban the chickens as follows:

=== Start excerpt from the majority opinion ===
"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' " (id.).
=== End excerpt from majority opinion ===

I do not see signs that Zhan appealed any further.

In this thread, the OP so far has indicated his condo's covenants have no wording about the board having an 'absolute power to prohibit a pet.' Hence I continue to think that, in the OP's case, if push came to shove, an appeals court would rule in favor of dog owners in the OP's case.

Of course, the goal is (1) not to land in court; and should push come to shove, (2) maybe recognize that what a trial court will do is especially a roll of the dice, meaning protracted litigation can add up to a lot of money.
PhilK3
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:23


08/01/2020 7:32 AM  
Thanks to everyone for their advice, opinions and info.
GeorgeR8
(Arizona)

Posts:159


08/02/2020 6:52 AM  
Not allowing dogs limits the buyer pool. Most people won't give up their dog to buy. But... in my experience only about half of the people that have a dog when they buy replace it when it dies.


I have a dog owners meeting every year. I cover complaints and offer solutions to those complaints. I remind them that members vote on rules and dog owners are outnumbered.

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