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Buying a Condo When You Own Pets

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By : Melanie Speed    99 or more times read
If you're looking to buy a condo when you own a dog or cat, tread carefully. There are a lot of things that can seriously jeopardize your peaceful pet ownership if you do not make sure that you abide by the condo rules. There are several preventative measures that you can take when purchasing a condo to safeguard your pet ownership rights.

Don't just go on what an agent tells you about the condo; do your own research. Even the sight of pets in the building or in the building's windows is not an indication that pet ownership is allowed. Ask to see the condo's declaration or bylaws. Get an updated copy of the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions and restrictions) to peruse.

If there are any restrictions on pets, what are they? Are you prohibited from owning an animal over a certain weight? What about a specific breed? Many condos outright ban certain breeds of dogs. Are there types of animals not permitted? For instance, will the condo allow cats but not dogs? If there is anything unclear about the restrictions or rules, have it clarified in writing.

The letter of the law when you first buy a condo isn't everything. Condo boards can change laws. Therefore you need to know what the prevailing attitudes towards pets are. If your condo building has security staff, ask them what the attitudes are about pets. Ask your potential neighbors. Also, you can get a lot of information from perusing the minutes of the last 3 or so meetings of the board. Check to see if there are a lot of pet complaints and what was done about them. Do the solutions seem to be solving the problems? Do people generally seem to have a good attitude towards pets?

Do not buy a condo with a "No Pets" rule or restrictions that would exclude your pet(s) and expect to "fly under the radar". Expensive lawsuits have been brought against homeowners because of this and most of the outcomes have favored the condo boards. You would have to prove that the condo board gave you inaccurate information or knew about the pet and turned a blind eye. This can be expensive, difficult and time consuming. It's better that you spend more time searching for a condo complex with rules that support your pet ownership.

With some careful searching and an understanding agent, you will eventually find a condo where you can keep your pet(s) safely and comfortably. Once installed, do your part to support condo pet ownership by training your pets, keeping them under control and responsibly disposing of their wastes. This will make pet ownership a positive thing for everybody and encourage the condo association to keep the units open to pets.
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