7 Tips for Making Your Association Pet-Friendly

It’s no secret that Floridians love their furry friends. Because of this, it’s easy to see why many homeowners might dislike the idea of a pet-free HOA or COA. Even if a homeowner doesn’t have a pet right now, they may not want to rule out the idea of getting one in the future. To ensure your association is a great place for people and pets alike, here are some helpful tips!


1.      Start with Requiring Registration


Although this may seem like the simplest thing to do, you can’t overestimate the importance of requiring pet owners to register their animals with the association. It’s vital that you know how many pets are living in your COA or HOA at all times and what kind of pets they are. This will help you with enforcing rules and finding the owners that may be responsible for troublemaking pets.


Make sure rabies vaccinations are part of the registration process. The last thing you want is a pet that’s vulnerable to rabies roaming free around condos and their residents. Many associations also require pets to be spayed and neutered.


2.      Be Inclusive of All Types of Pets


Don’t just open your association up to small dogs or certain breeds. Just because you may have had a negative experience with a certain dog breed does not mean their behavior is representative of their breed as a whole. The same is true when it comes to dog size. While some people may automatically assume big dogs are the troublemakers, this isn’t necessarily true either. Big dog breeds may look scary, but they can easily be some of the most well-behaved and loveable furry friends.


That being said, having association insurance that covers any type of breed in your association is vital. You may discover that your insurance has certain breed exemptions when it comes to coverage. Try to find the most comprehensive coverage you can.


3.      Require Leashes in Common Areas


If a dog is in a common area, it should be leashed. Period! This protects everyone in your community and adds some extra peace. This helps avoid all kinds of problems, like property damage and potential car accidents, while also being kind to association members who may be afraid of dogs. Include leash requirements in your HOA rules and keep signs up in the common areas so people cannot claim they merely forgot the rule.


Having these rules in place won’t matter if you aren’t actively enforcing the official rules you have in your governing documents. It’s important to not show partiality. If you see a small dog whose owners forgot a leash, don’t let it slide. Whether the offender is big or small, make sure you call out the need for leashes.


4.      Add Features for Pets to Enjoy


Taking care of a dog especially can be a lot of work. There are several ways you can go the extra mile for your pet parents to make caring for their pets easier and make your association extra attractive. Building a dog part on your property is perhaps the most obvious idea. You may consider having a separate space for large and small dogs.


If you don’t have the room for a full-fledged dog park, you can always create a dog run instead. This can be a large terrace or a roof. No matter how you go about it, these kinds of features will be greatly appreciated by dog owners as they give pets a place to work out their extra energy.


Of course, no matter what you do, make sure you check out your local ordinances to ensure you are in compliance with any applicable rules. You should also be careful on what company you choose to add any pet-focused features since shoddy work will negatively impact everyone in the community.


5.      Organize Pet-Friendly Activities


One of the other great ways to attract dog owners is with special activities for pet parents like group hikes or social outings. It will take a little extra organization but it can become an attraction for your community. You also don’t have to limit attendees to pet owners. Just make it clear in your advertisements that the activity is pet-friendly.


Not only will these social gatherings boost your association, but they will also foster better community among your unit owners. This leads to a higher level of satisfaction and will make current residents more likely to stay.


6.      Talk Liability


Just like with so many changes you could make to your HOA, it’s vital that you consult with a lawyer about how allowing pets could negatively impact your association. One of the biggest concerns for many HOAs or COAs is a dog biting a resident. It’s important for you to be proactive about this by including protocols in your governing documents.


7.      Make Things Enjoyable for Non-Pet Owners


One of the biggest inconveniences of allowing pets on your HOA or COA property is the waste. Not only is disgusting, but it can also cause health concerns and damage to lawns. Make sure you include waste cleanup in your HOA rules to avoid unfortunate messes. If you want to go the extra mile with encouraging condo owners or homeowners to comply with these rules, install plastic bag inspectors and covered trashcans throughout the community. Keeping these in sight will keep picking up dog waste in mind!


One of the other common issues of having a pet-friendly association is barking. While some barking from a dog is normal, it can quickly become a major inconvenience that prevents some people from getting the sleep they want. It can also be a distraction for those working from home. If the association receives complaints, make sure you take it up with the dog owner directly.


Making your association more pet-friendly doesn’t have to be complicated. When you follow these tips, your association can be a more pleasant place for all community members whether they own a pet or not. Give LM Funding a call if you have any questions or are looking for ways to enforce your current rules!