Pets are an important part of many Americans’ lives. Dogs are like family to many people, and therefore an inevitable situation for HOAs to handle. While pets are great companions to some, others can find them a nuisance, especially if they are not handled in a manner respectful to the community. The following homeowners’ association pet restrictions and guidelines will help your community have a problem-free co-existence.

Approved weight and number of animals

HOA dog restrictions can help avoid pet damage in homes. As an HOA board, you must decide the best rules for your community. While most HOAs simply put a limit on number of animals, some condominium and townhouse boards implement a weight limit. Consider that this isn’t a perfect science, as Great Danes are great apartment dogs. Therefore, you may alienate some buyers who strongly feel their dog will thrive in your community. However, the larger to the pet, the larger the potential damage, mess, and neighbor fear. If you decide your HOA dog restrictions allow for larger breeds, we recommend at least putting a limit on how many pets per household are allowed.

Waste cleanupPet Waste Station for HOA

There’s no doubt that pets produce a lot of waste. Sadly, owners failing to picking up after their pet is a common problem at any property. Creating waste cleanup rules will help to prevent gross situations from happening. Distribute a first-offense warning for owners who don’t clean up after their pets, and also be sure to warn owners that repeated offenders will be fined. Remember, you’ll want to support your fines with evidence, not just another owner’s report. Of course, a great amenity that serves as a preventative measure is to have pet waste stations positioned at pet “potty” areas throughout your property. You’ll find the greatest collection of abandoned pet waste after snow melts, so plan on plowing/shoveling a path to and around your pet “potty” area.

Proper documentation for service animals

Brush up on service animal laws for Illinois. Legally, service/comfort animals are allowed to inhabit a home regardless of the HOA pet rules, if the owner provides all acceptable documentation. So, even if your community doesn’t allow animals, you must allow service animals. If someone moves into the community who requires a service animal, the HOA will need to collect all proper papers to verify the animal. All current owners must notify the HOA if they newly acquire a service animal, and also provide the correct documents. Likewise, to avoid problems, notify the community of the new residents, their needs, and the laws. This will help prevent confusion, resentment, and complaints.

Inform prospective buyers of all rules

It is crucial that you ask all prospective buyers into the association if they own pets. If so, provide a handout of the homeowners’ association pet restrictions so there are no surprises. It should include the basics, like a leashing rule, and excessive barking. But be sure to include¬†all your HOA pet rules. It’s your responsibility to properly explain and go over all the rules of the association. Neglecting to do so may result in confusion down the road and broken rules. And if your community is pet-free except for a service animal, let the buyer know that also. Some people have fear of dogs, and may have sought out your community because it is pet-free. That is not an issue you want to deal with later.