Thursday, June 21, 2018
Home and Garden

Community Living: Do what the doc says: Let dog into no-pet condo

Do what the doctor says: Allow the dog

Q: Our condominium is in a "no-pet" community. Our condominium lawyer and manager allege that we cannot restrict dogs when a doctor signs a letter that the pet is needed for health reasons. I am not talking about service dogs but any dog, even a dog that is not trained nor has any pedigree. This leaves us open for more and more pets to be allowed despite being a no-pet community. How do we correct this problem without breaking the law?

A: While service dogs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, companion or therapy pets are not found in the ADA. However, if a doctor feels a pet would be beneficial for the health of an owner, as your attorney and your manager advised, the association should allow the pet. It is an argument you would not want to fight in court.

Dissolving HOA a tough task

Q: I feel that our homeowner association (HOA) board is beyond proper actions and is bordering on illegal decisions. The board has engaged a community manager without notifying the members for their input. The board is holding out to vendors that can encumber the members via contracts for service. The board is charging a special assessment to pay outside contractors. The board through the illegal property manager is attempting to levy fines on members who do not follow their wishes. Are not these criminal acts? How do we dissolve the HOA?

A: The fact that you seem to be missing is that the board is elected by the members to operate and manage the affairs of the association. They also have a responsibly to maintain the common areas. The statutes allow the board to budget and assess the members to pay for these responsibilities, as they are statute- and document-driven.

It is not a suggestion that the board needs members' approval to accomplish these responsibilities. The facts are that the board can engage professional help to provide services; thus, they can engage a licensed manager and then assess the members to pay for management expenses. They can also engage attorneys, CPAs, engineers and other professionals to ensure that they are properly operating.

Nothing in the books says the board must do all the work itself. That means the board can hire others to do the work, the day-to-day needs. A director is responsible for all actions and decisions. That means that the professionals and employees they engage to help are under direct control for their accomplishments or failure to properly operate. As to dissolving the association, that is a difficult process and is very expensive. To start you need an attorney to prepare the paperwork and a trustee to accept title to any common areas, and mortgage holders must approve the dissolving of the association, along with the members. Dissolving the association is almost impossible. Your documents may contain the instructions to terminate the association.