Every Community Should Define its HOA Pet Policy

What is your community association’s policy when it comes to pets? This is something that every community association must address in some form or fashion. Apartment and condominium communities must define whether pets are even allowed—and if so, what kinds. HOA communities, meanwhile, may need to have rules and policies in place concerning barking, noise violations, leash laws, and so on. HOA Pet policy may differ from one community to the next—but having these policies in place is critical.

Your HOA or condominium association should have its pet policies clearly laid out in your CC&Rs; that way, any time there is a dispute or an infraction, you can simply refer residents back to these policies.

Some specific items to address in your pet policies include:

  • The type of pets that are approved. Is your community permissive of dogs, cats, and birds?
  • The size and breed of pets permitted. In some communities, there are restrictions on various breeds, or there are weight limits imposed.
  • The use of common areas. Are pets allowed in your common areas—and if so, are owners required to clean up after their animals?
  • Leash laws. Does your association require dogs to be leashed at all times when they are not in their homes? On a related note, many associations will have laws about whether unrestrained cats are allowed outdoors.
  • Finally, your HOA will need to identify its policies on barking. What qualifies as “nuisance barking,” and how will your board address infractions of this policy?

Above all, remember that your pet policy is not meant to impose arbitrary guidelines, but simply to ensure peaceful community living. Make sure that all of these pet policies are clearly laid out in your governing documents, and that all community members are given easy access to these documents.

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Bryan Kuester

Bryan Kuester

Bryan is the CEO of Kuester Management Group. He has over 15 years of managing community associations throughout North and South Carolina.

His specialties include Community Association Management - maintenance, budgeting for operational and reserve funding, long-range planning, covenant enforcement, amenity management, onsite management, large scale management.