Pets Allowed? Economic Pressures Change Some Rules—But Not All

Even as condos and co-ops around the Northeast have loosened pet restrictions to increase marketability during the recession, not all New Jersey buildings and HOAs have jumped on the bandwagon.

Co-ops, most of which do not have strong marketing concerns, have continued to ban or place heavy restrictions on animals (principally dogs) out of concerns over nuisance barking, property damage and dog bites.

This is in contrast with condos, where pet policies are developing along two diverging paths. Newer condos, which need to appeal to a wide segment of buyers, have generally thrown out the welcome mat for dogs. But in some older condos, tighter controls on animals have been put in place within the past year, according to Linda Cohen Wassong, a realtor at The Corcoran Group in New York City, who specializes in finding housing for pet owners. “In the past, condos had always been friendly to pets, except if you were renting. But now there are restrictions at some of them,” she says.

More Dogs Than Ever

While some buildings are putting dogs on a tighter leash, a combination of market forces and sheer doggy demographics are working against the restrictions, say industry pros. As dog ownership has increased, new developments, particularly condos, have become more dog-friendly for economic reasons.

“Landlords realize that dogs are not causing the physical damage that a lot of people said they were," says Bob Marino, a dog ownership advocate. "A dog walking in a carpeted hallway causes no more damage than the parent with a baby carriage—probably less damage. And dogs, except when they're very old, rarely urinate or defecate in a hallway or lobby area. Landlords also realize that not only are you getting more prospective renters and buyers with relaxed pet rules, but you can charge them more money for rent. You charge them a $30 a month fee.”

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6 Comments

  • QUESTION: What right does a Condominium Board have to enforce a no pet policy when several of the board members themselves have pets..namely cats. There is one small dog in the community and this pet owner does not reside year round, frequenting their condo for only short periods of time. The By Laws state .. "No Pets (cats, dogs, or other pets)" And yet there are a reported 17 cats in the community - of which at least 4 belong to board members. A new pet policy was proposed and after much manipulation by the current board it was put to vote. Prior to this vote certain board members indicated to some of the cat owners that they would "grandfather in" the existing cats. This, in my opinion, prejudiced the outcome of the vote. The vote ended in supporting the "No Pets" policy and the board proceeded to grandfather in the cats based on the misadministering of the policy by previous boards. However, they are demanding the dog owner to not bring their dog back or legal action will be taken. Can the board, ( who clearly were not only in violation of the No Pets Policy, but also flaunted it by knowingly violating the same said policy ) enforce the No Pets Policy on the single dog owner and grandfather in all the cats? Would they not also need to grandfather in the single dog since the No Pets Policy defines pets as - cats, dogs, other pets?
  • If the board was aware that some members were violating the rule and took no action then the rule is no longer a rule.Grand father clause is garbage and not fair.
  • I am having an issue at my co-op in New Jersey. I have an outdoor cat who is impossible to keep indoors. Before I moved into my co-op in September 2012, I was completely unaware that the co-op has a "no outdoor cat" rule. I never got a copy of the by-laws and my realtor was even unaware of this regulation. A few years ago outdoor cats were allowed, but they changed the rule . No one informed me of this rule before I bought the condo, in fact, the co op boasted being "pet friendly" in their ad. Now I am being imposed with $50 fines because "someone saw my cat outside". They have no proof or evidence that anyone actually saw my cat outside. Every now and then he gets out during the day and theres nothing I can do about it. I have tried to reason with the Board to allow me to have him outside only at night, but they refuse, although there are numerous other cats roaming the property, who myself and my neighbors have seen. I don't even see anything in the rules that says that they are allowed to impose fines for this! What should I do?
  • Our condominium's bylaws contain a no pet provision. A potential buyer's has a grown daughter who would be visiting on occasion, and she has a service dog. Before they pursue the purchase any further and with the understanding that dogs are not permitted in the buidling; they wanted to know that when their daughter visits, her service dog would be permitted to accompany her without any violoation of the rules, regulations and bylaws of the Association. What are the Association's legal obligations?
  • Our NJ Condominium has a "cannot harbor" any animals policy. House bound cats are exempt. We are now faced with the request for approval for an animal for emotional relief. The Board believes they must comply with the request, since media documentation was presented. My question is: Should there not be a procedure for accepting, reviewing and approving these requests? Should they be "open-ened or can the Board request a status review in 6, 9 or 12 months?
  • Why is a housebound cat allowed and not a housebound dog?