Q: I am looking for a small home with a yard. I have one son, two dogs three pigeons and a cat. I've found a home that I want to buy, but the real estate agent says we have to check the CC & Rs regarding animals. I am selling my condo due to an over-zealous HOA board, and sure don't want to deal with such problems in a single-family home. What should I do?
A: HOA rules, also called cc & rs (Covenants, conditions and restrictions) refer to rules affecting a specific condominium or residential development governed by a homeowners association (HOA). They HOA rules establish and fund an HOA and also to maintain certain standards of maintenance and nuisance abatement within the subject development.
Your real estate agent is playing it safe by checking out the rules before writing an offer on the home you like, as any zoning codes or HOA rules limiting the number or type of pets you keep could be a roadblock. No matter how well-behaved your pets, if they are not allowed in your community, you can bet that someone will report your violation to the HOA or applicable zoning authority responsible for code enforcement. This can lead to fines and legal action depending on the codes or rules violated and how they are enforced.
Homebuyers are advised to avoid conflicts with HOA rules, CC & Rs and zoning code enforcement by learning about what's restricted or prohibited before buying a home.
Most CC & Rs and residential zoning codes do limit the numbers and types of pets that can be kept by one household; Dogs and cats are typically limited to a specific number and dogs may be subject to a weight limit. Pigeons may be considered poultry for zoning purposes; make sure that there are no zoning restrictions or HOA rules against keeping them.
Check with the animal control agency with jurisdiction in areas where you're looking to buy a home; they can help with explaining municipal and county zoning laws and enforcement. Questions about HOA cc & rs should be addressed to HOA management or board members