Dogs and Cats and Fish Oh My!
MOVING! Now there is a word that draws in a huge number of powerful emotions. Living in my 57th home, I have a full appreciation of all that the term implies. And one of the big concerns in that transition is my pets.
It would be easy to assume that everyone else will love my dog, or cat, or cockatiel as much as I do. But before you buy that new place, or sign that lease, you had better investigate the community’s pet policy.
How many pets are allowed? Will the community even allow me to have a dog, or a pet, or restrict the weight, the breed, or the activities? Can I have two or more? Do fish count in the counting? Is a lizard a pet? Can I have a cat, a dog, a lizard and a couple of fish? Is there a place to walk the dog, swim the fish, or stroll the turtle? Will my animal react to traffic going by, or golfers in their carts, or kids heading to school?
Some places allow NO pets. This can be particularly distressing if you have bought the home and did not properly inform yourself. Think through the entire 24-hour 7-day cycle. Where will my pet be when I am at work or away shopping?
Codes, Covenants, and Restrictions Documents (CC&Rs) including the Rules and Regulations and By-Laws can easily run to 400 pages. In some areas there are two sets for your community and your Master Planned neighborhood. Most have an index of provisions and this can be very helpful compared to reading hundreds of pages. Your Realtor may not have a copy of the CC&Rs for the community which holds the home you find interesting. However, the Realtor is exactly the person to check up on this for you. They can call the Property Management Company and get your questions answered.
Real Life – A family with four cats felt that the rules for two pets didn’t apply to them. They bought a condominium, closed escrow, and moved in. Things would have been fine except their two teenage boys liked to dance through the late afternoon using Wii Dance Party before mom and dad got home from work. The downstairs neighbor went after them starting with the cat thing. So being honest about the match between pet populations and the local rules is critical if you expect to keep your precious darlings and your cash. HOAs can fine for these out of synch situations.
Moves are traumatic enough for us mere mortals, but they can be more so for our pets. Please investigate prior to buying or leasing. Before the house hunting begins, consider the needs of your pets. It will make your move go smoother.