What “Pet Friendly” Really Means

September 17, 2018


Many of the buyers I’ve helped find new homes are, like me, animal lovers.  And it’s important that they find a place where the furry family member is welcome.  With houses, there usually isn’t an issue, but condos and coops are a very different story.
Most condo and coop complexes have at least some restrictions and the types and number of animals that residents can share their spaces with.

  • Some buildings allow cats, but not dogs.
  • Buildings that do allow both dogs and cats usually put weight limits on individual pets.
  • There are often limits on the number of pets you can have in one unit.
  • Service animals trained to assist people with disabilities are generally exempt from the pet exclusions, but many buildings are trying to crack down on people who are trying to pass off their toy poodles as emotional support animals.
  • No pet buildings almost always mean business, so don’t think you can sneak your cat or dog in.  Also, even if you don’t have a pet, a no pet building can be a risky investment – your unit could be hard to re-sell.

So “Pet Friendly” can mean a lot of things to a lot of condo associations.  And if you are an animal person, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the ground rules for any condo you might be considering – before you make an offer!

Don’t take the listing agent’s word for what the restrictions might me. There is usually a professional building manager who can explain any nuances to you.  Also, some buildings are willing to make exceptions, but you need to get the Board of Directors’ approval before you finalize your deal. But for some, rules are rules.  End of conversation.

Even if the rules seem pretty lax, your neighbors will expect your pet to be well-behaved, especially dogs, who ride elevators and take walks on the grounds.

Whenever I’m tempted to downsize from my house to a condo, I look at Willie the Labradoodle, my current significant other.  He’s a leg man. He would hump any leg that might want to share an elevator on our way out for his walk.  If I got home late, could I get him out of the building and to the designated pet area before nature called?  And he loves to bark – a lot! While he may deter burglars, he would certainly annoy my neighbors.

If there is a fur guy in your family, the first step is to find a pet-friendly agent who knows which buildings would work for all of you!  Um, that would be me!  You can call or text for more information at 202-549-5167.