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Noise and Pet Restrictions

Living in a condominium or housing co-op, you may be subject to covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). CC&Rs regulate your property's use, appearance, and maintenance. They often restrict what you can do on the property. If you've been in a rental property before, you're likely used to rules about noise and pets. Just because you own property now doesn't necessarily mean you've escaped those rules.

For example, some covenants prevent you from having pets or hanging your laundry out to dry. Other covenants may impose:

  • Lawn maintenance standards
  • Common area rules
  • Bans on home additions and excessive noise

This article discusses noise covenants and pet restrictions. It also discusses what's legal and enforceable of these types of restrictions. Finally, the article addresses seeking an exception (known as a variance) from a covenant.

Noise Covenants

Covenants controlling noise are common, particularly during certain hours of the day or night. These covenants apply to noise made by barking dogs and to things like:

  • Loud guests
  • Music
  • Vehicles
  • Construction

Typical effective hours for noise control covenants are between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Local ordinances often also ban noise between certain hours. If local laws apply, neighbors may contact police or animal control to address any noise complaints immediately. They may later file a complaint with a neighborhood or homeowners association (HOA) for covenant or bylaws violations.

Pet Restrictions

Condo associations may impose pet-related rules on homeowners and renters. These may include:

  • Pet deposits or pet fees for dog and cat owners
  • Pet ownership restrictions that prohibit some pet owners from keeping their animals
  • Rules requiring pet vaccinations
  • Rules limiting the number of pets allowed for each tenancy

CC&Rs on pet policies may address pet limits, types of pets, and even dog breeds. Rental housing may controlled by pet rules in the lease agreement. Similarly, CC&Rs limit the types of animals owners may keep at their house. For example, it may ban pit bulls due to a perceived propensity for violence.

If you're a prospective resident, you should learn about covenants before buying a property or bringing new pets onto the property. Property associations have the right to take legal action and demand the removal of pets in violation of covenants. This can only happen after proper notice and a hearing, followed by a court order to enforce the covenant. Members of homeowners' associations don't have the authority to enter your home to remove pets.

What's Legal and Enforceable?

Community associations can use restrictive covenants to ensure the safety of others and efficient property management. But, they may only do so in compliance with the Fair Housing Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Associations must provide reasonable accommodations where required by state law or federal laws.

Can I Get an Exception From a Covenant?

Under some circumstances, you can request a variance for permission not to follow the usual requirements of a covenant. Variances are usually granted when enforcement of a covenant would cause undue or unfair hardship on the person pursuing the variance.

Examples include service animals or emotional support animals. They may exceed the size, weight limit, or breed restriction indicated in a covenant. A variance in such a situation accommodates a resident's disability or emotional needs. Accordingly, a variance for a service animal may allow a resident to keep their pet even if its ownership would otherwise violate a covenant.

Get Legal Help

You're not alone if you're unsure how to interpret your homeowners association rules or covenants. You may also have other housing-related questions. Consult with a real estate attorney in your local area to learn about ownership and tenant rights.

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