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Pet-friendly Communities: The Dos and Don’ts

Pets are valued members of the family, so it’s no surprise that pet-friendly communities are some of the most sought-after places to live. While there are many benefits to living in a homeowners’ association (HOA), pet permissions do come with a few guidelines. Like any association, pet-friendly communities have rules, regulations, and restrictions that every homeowner is expected to follow. A community’s pet policy often details the type of pets allowed, rules for pet owners, and steps taken to ensure compliance. While restrictions in each community are different, the following are a few general dos and don’ts for successful ownership in pet-friendly communities.

DO: Review the Governing Documents

Your pet is a big part of your life. That’s why you should make sure to review all paperwork that may detail what your pet can and can’t do in and around its home. Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations for pet owners and determine if you’re able to adhere to them and if they’re compatible with your lifestyle.

DON’T: Assume All Pet-Friendly Communities are the Same

A private entity, each condominium can decide if it allows members to own and house pets. Further, they can restrict the types of pets they permit and much more. With efforts to keep harmony within the community, allow certain liberties, and keep the grounds well maintained and presentable, you’ll find that many corporations have restrictions, such as:

  • Height, weight, and size of the pet
  • Number of pets per household
  • Species of pets allowed

DO: Be a Good Neighbour

Once you have a proper understanding of your HOA’s pet policy, do your best to follow the rules. This will help create a good relationship between you and your neighbours. Talk to your neighbours face-to-face and keep conversations friendly. With excessive barking being one of the top complaints, keeping open lines of communication between you and your neighbours is an easy and quick way to resolve such issues.

DON’T: Ignore the Barking

Dogs don’t bark just to bark. Barking is a form of communication, so it’s crucial to determine what your dog is trying to say. The most common causes of barking include protection and warning, fear, play, attention, loneliness, and separation anxiety. Consider efforts such as exercise, socialization, or training to help your dog work through the issue.

DO: Be Courteous to the Community

As a common courtesy, you should always pick up after your pet. Getting out and enjoying the extra things your community offers will likely improve your sense of community and make your experience of living there far more enjoyable.

DON’T: Let Simple Tasks Turn into Big, Stinky Problems

While picking up after your pet may be a habit, always remember to pack waste bags before a walk. Many communities now have pet waste stations. Your neighbours will appreciate that you pick up after your pets.

If your HOA allows pets and doesn’t have pet stations in place, it’s something that you can ask your board to explore. With enough interest, you might be able to spearhead that change.

DO: Understand Rule Violations

Your association will have a set of governing documents, which includes pet-specific rules and regulations made by the community. When a member of the community breaks one of the rules, then they may receive a violation notice from management. Typically, a violation from management will include details about the offense, how to correct it.

DON’T: Worry too Much About Simple Mistakes

Most boards understand that mistakes happen, and violations are often resolved with a friendly verbal or written reminder. If you question the effectiveness of the rule, this might be a good time to discuss it with your board in a calm and relaxed manner. It’s possible to amend the rules, and your board has a duty to work with you to come to an appropriate solution. Read our ebook, “Is It a Good HOA Rule?” to learn what rules help support—not hinder—a homeowner’s efforts to live within the corporation’s expectations.