Purchasing a Home in an HOA With a Couple of Doggies? Better Read the Governing Documents

Many condos and townhomes have restrictions regarding your pet's weight and also the number of pets you may have.

When we purchased our town-home here on the peninsula, we had a small dachshund mix and never thought twice about asking about pet restrictions. She was a small breed and we saw some other people with dogs during the time we previewed the home, so we just assumed it was OK.

It's not a good idea to assume your pet will be accepted, especially in a condo building. These condos often have strict guidelines to having pets. Even if the CC&R's report that you may have three pets, it often means three different types of species. For example: One small dog, a pet bird, and a cat.

Pet weight restrictions are most prevalent in a condo situation. Last summer I found the perfect condo for a prospective buyer. She has two sweet Italian Greyhounds that weigh very little, however the HOA documents clearly restricted homeowners to only one dog. She luckily found a condo shortly afterwards that had a two dog limit.

The best advice I can give you is to investigate the CC&R's pet policy before looking at a condo. It's also a good idea to see if the surrounding neighborhood has parks and walking trails that are pet friendly.

Last, but not least.....be a responsible pet owner......while walking your most precious 4  legged family member, don't forget to pick up after.........

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Troy February 03, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Trust me from experience, it's real law that matters. HOA rules and regulations don't stand up in court.
Kathryn February 12, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Troy- I don't know if you are an industry professional or a homeowner, but unfortunately for many who believe as you do, the courts in this country have been favoring contracts over individual rights and civil liberties more often these days. Some HOA rules, being firmly and reasonably grounded in their governing documents, can be enforced. Lucky for homeowners, in California the most easily enforceable rights under Davis Sterling are the rights to see the records. Many misinformed boards (and even too many professionals who should know better) have dug in their heals and been ordered to pay damages in small claims court to owners who are forced to sue to examine records, AS IS THEIR RIGHT. Boards and ignorant managers beware: there is no point in sending out supposed rules which insist on ADR before an owner sues. You know of course that those "ADR-first" restrictions DO NOT apply to small claims court, where, thanks to many non-profits like CCHAL, owners are taught to go in order to get access to financial and other records. But perhaps troy was referring to some of the ridiculous rules which some Boards and managers drum up at their eventual peril. (IMO) If unreasonable fines and rules persist, it is just a matter of time until California follows Virginia and enacts a restriction against fines for infractions not clearly within the CC&Rs. Kathryn As usual- the moral is READ your HOA's governing docs. You are bound by them whether or not you agree with them.


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