Chris Griffith: Pet droppings a big, smelly part of homeowner association restrictions

CHRIS GRIFFITH

Most condominium owners have a set of documents that perform little practical function other than taking up space on a shelf or in a cabinet. That is, if they bothered to keep them at all. Those documents are the rules for the association. The rules; you will obey them or start getting warning letters from the management company.

The last letter that came to everyone in my association read, don’t leave your dog poo bagged on the side of the street. Apparently, someone on my yellow brick road goes to the trouble of bagging up their dog poo, just not disposing of it.

So, someone complains to the property manager, the property manager sends a letter to everyone in the association and hopefully whoever the culprit is quits leaving behind the land mines.

You know, there is a whole page in those documents devoted to “domestic pets” and the treats they leave behind. It’s probably one of the more important, most read sections of most condominium rules and regulations.

Americans sure do love their dogs and when it comes to condo ownership combined with dog ownership, it gets tricky.

That old set of space taking condo documents someone hands you just may not be the most current set of rules; whether you’re reading up on pet rules or rental restrictions.

Many associations have adjusted their rules over the years, especially the last few years as they’ve played catch up repairing loopholes and oversights which have been exploited by owners or tenants. The updates are mailed to owners but they’re not always added to the originals.

If you’re purchasing a condo in Florida part of the due diligence period included three days to review the budget, frequently asked questions, rules and regulations and the condominium articles and by-laws.

Hopefully, you’ve been given a fresh set and not the copy that’s been under the space bag full of sweaters for the last seven years. If you haven’t, you should request new documents to make sure you have the current updates.

If you have pointed questions about what you can or can not do when you become an owner, you need to call the management company. If you don’t know who that is you can find the info at www.sunbiz.org by searching the association by name. It will list a handful of directors, too. All sorts of people who should know the rules about, well, whatever rule you’re concerned with.

Last week I had to ask the pet rules for an association and had to sunbiz.org the management company and Google their phone number. It turns out that the rules for the association read, “Two domestic pets, under 80 pounds.” Naturally, I asked if that was 80 pounds cumulative weight or 80 pounds per pet. It wasn’t clear and the buyer didn’t have an 80-pound cat to worry about so we just let it slide.

There are all sorts of fact filled, rule packed, goodness is in those condo documents you need to know before you jump in feet first.

If you run into a circumstance where, for example, you may have two 80-pound dogs and the rules are as clear as mud, get something in writing from the association so you don’t get a letter down the road and an invitation to remove your portly pets from the premise.

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