Have you heard of Jayden and Fred's story? Fred is Jayden Hoover's pet tortoise, whom he's had since Christmas 2015. Unfortunately, the Ross Bridge Homeowner's Association (HOA) in Hoover, Alabama, didn't have tortoises on its list of approved pets, so they had to ask Jayden to give up Fred.
After a Redditor shared the news, it became popular, and the HOA eventually reversed its decision. Now, if you're an HOA board member, you may be debating whether to become a pet-friendly community. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of allowing pets in a community can help, so let's get right on it.
HOA Communities With Pets: The Pros
It's worth considering that more than 90 million families in the US own a pet. Of course, every HOA wants their community to be the best, with residents who are responsible, easy to get along with, and will follow HOA rules.
Needless to say, such residents may already be pet owners, and making your community pet-friendly is an easy way to market to them. You also don't want the headache of residents "sneaking" in their pets later on, which is why it's better to say yes to them from the get-go.
Better resident retention is also an advantage that comes with a community that allows pets. While it's always good to welcome new neighbors, residents who stay for a long time are a good indicator of a happy, healthy, and thriving community.
Pets in a Community: The Cons
Many families may have pets, but it doesn't stop homeowners associations from restricting or prohibiting pets. The apparent reasons include pet damage, potential bites or injuries, and noise complaints.
If pets are allowed in your community, and there are no clear policies for the owners, you can expect conflicts between residents and complaints to the HOA. To avoid this, you can consult an association management company to help craft pet-related guidelines that will satisfy residents and the HOA.
It's essential to be specific, especially about registering pets, waste pickup and elimination, noise levels, etc. Please don't wait until the residents start leaving and putting up their condos for sale. The HOA should carefully rethink and modify its pet regulations immediately.
Whatever personal feelings you may have about animals, your HOA must consider its legal obligation towards service animals. Some of your residents may need their comfort or emotional support animal for life, which the Fair Housing Act (FHA) also protects.
It's also good to remember that the FHA treats service and support animals equally.
More Questions? PMI Can Help You
Residents and the HOA shouldn't have to worry about whether pets in a community will be good or bad. We are ready to help you develop pet regulations that everyone will be happy with and also guide you with enforcing these rulings.
PMI has extensive experience working with homeowners associations in North Dallas. Don't forget to check out our Board Member Resources or contact us so we can discuss pet ownership guidelines within your HOA.