HOA Pet Policies: The Importance of Accommodating Support Animals

HOA Pet Policies: The Importance of Accommodating Support Animals

Pet policies are often a hot topic when it comes to HOAs. Many HOAs don't allow pets in the community to keep the area in picture-perfect condition.

Support animals are a different issue entirely. They don't fall under the same category as regular pets and require special considerations.

We're here to help your HOA put these considerations into practice with ease. Keep reading to learn why support animals are so important and how to allow them in your community without disruption.

Fair Housing Act

The first thing to understand is that support animals fall under Fair Housing laws. This means you'll need to make exceptions for the support animal to remain compliant with these laws.

Even if pets are not a part of your HOA policies, your HOA can't ignore an individual's right to have their support animal move into the area with them.

Boosting Inclusivity

While HOAs grant homeowners a wide variety of benefits, a community can only continue to thrive if there's a certain amount of flexibility. Even with the Fair Housing Act to aid them, people with support animals can run into issues if the HOA isn't ready to accept them.

It's up to the community to understand that the individual isn't trying to disrupt the area. Instead, holding meetings about the need for inclusivity can be a great way to make the transition seamless for everyone.

Hosting a meet-and-greet can also go a long way in helping the community come together as a whole.

Reasonable Accommodations

Support animals shouldn't cause any real change to general HOA living.

It is up to the HOA board to include certain accommodations for the new arrival, as long as it doesn't greatly disrupt the community. It's also up to the owner to accept certain rules placed upon the animal to keep the community safe and content.

For example, always using a leash when a support dog is outside can be a helpful rule to implement.

Potential Challenges

Support animals don't come with the same official training as service animals. They're under a more broad term that doesn't have as many restrictions.

It's up to the HOA management board to decide how far they wish to take researching whether a support animal is legitimate or not. Keep in mind that the HOA doesn't have the right to learn all the details about a person's medical history.

You can ask to see documentation about the necessity of the animal, such as an emotional support letter. Some HOAs find their community more accepting of a support animal if there's an official document to strengthen the claim.

Managing Community Support Animals

When your HOA pet policies don't allow for pets, it can be difficult to figure out how to include support animals in an undisruptive way. When your HOA is at a standstill, it could be time to seek out professional advice.

At PMI Fine Properties, we have the backing of a large franchise to help us tackle all your HOA needs. We can aid in incorporating support animals into your community, and more. Check out our list of association management services and we'll work together to help your HOA thrive!