Many a pet living in condos can cause headaches—both for the pet owner and the neighbors. In some condos, a pet can run loose and do their business whever they want. This may cause the landscaper a miserable time!

When the Boards of Directors and the management companies of pet condos are asked what their biggest problems are, they usually reply “people, parking, and pets.” A pet is banned in many condos.

Two Florida residents are trying to get a law passed that would force condos to accept a pet if doctors say they are necessary. Pets can help relieve physical and emotional problems, and doctors are beginning to write prescriptions for them.

On the other hand, one attorney says he has a doctor’s letter prescribing a pet for an owner and another letter from an owner demanding the condos get rid of all pets because he is allergic to them.

Boards of Directors and management companies of pet condos are caught in the middle when a pet is needed to help someone recover from a heart attack, deal with loneliness, etc.

Whatever a board decides to do must be done consistently, whether it’s to ban a pet according to the the Declaration of Condominium Ownership or enforce the pet restrictions according to the rules for the property.

In some condos, Declarations state that pets are not allowed or a Declaration Amendment is passed banning pets. Occasionally, this restriction hasn’t been enforced by the Board of Directors, and it needs to be resolved.

One way is to “grandfather” the pets that are already at the condos. Those pets are permitted to stay until the end of their lives or until the resident moves. Once the pet has departed, it cannot be replaced by another owner or renter.

If pets are permitted, rules for condos should be put in place to handle the problems that a pet can create:

  • aggression toward peoople or other animals,
  • noise,
  • animal waste,
  • odors,
  • damage to condos,
  • health concerns, and
  • environmental concerns.

If condos decide to ban pets, the following should be done:

  • review the master insurance policy for needed changes,
  • have the attorney for the condos prepare the legal documents needed to make the change (Amendment) in the Declaration,
  • after board approval, distribute a draft of the Amendment to owners and arrange for a vote (if necessary),
  • post signage that states pets are prohibited,
  • decide how to handle pets already living in the condos,
  • make sure new owners and renters are aware of the rule before they move in, and
  • establish enforcement penalties for failure to comply.

A pet can be such a part of someone’s life that it is like another family member. Pets will likely continue to be a controversial part of living in condos. Perhaps someday developers will design pet condos with the needs of owners in mind. What would a “Pets Welcome” attitude look like?