Q&A: Pets in a No-Pet Building

Q. My condominium does not allow any animals, as spelled out in the condominium rules and regulations. This was one of the reasons I purchased in this building because it didn’t allow pets. With no regard to the rules, however, several owners had recently snuck in cats for pets. Our property is smaller, with only 39 units and only one elevator.

When the building was new, the builder allowed the first owners to bring in their small pets, with the understanding that when the animal died, there would be no replacing them. Subsequent buyers were never allowed to have animals.

What can we do to solve this problem? 

                —A Catch-22 in Coral Gables

A. “There are a few areas of concern raised in the fact pattern,” according to James Robert Caves III, an attorney with the law firm of Becker & Poliakoff in Fort Myers. “The first is how a developer’s failure to enforce the governing documents affect future enforcement by the owner-controlled association. Typically, a developer’s failure to enforce restrictions in the documents do not carry over to the owner-controlled board. However, if following turnover, the owner-controlled association did not take steps to enforce the documents, even if the violations began before turnover, then the association would be dealing with a failure to enforce problem.


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  • If it’s not a rental, but owned by the resident, is there a reason not to allow “inside” cats since any damage to inside would be owner’s job to repair? It’s certainly understandable for dog owners to even pay a fee for having a dog, who walks outside, close to others’ property, possibly causing damage.