How Can I Convince My Condo Board to Allow Pets?

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Q. I live in a townhouse community that does not allow animals. I have many elderly neighbors, and I feel that having the option of keeping a pet would do wonders for their health and social interaction. Do you have any ideas about how I might approach this issue with our board and try to change this unfair rule?

A. It’s very true that pets are good for your health — and this may be especially true for older people. Pets keep us more active and more social, and those things help keep us feeling younger. Having the ability to own a pet could indeed be beneficial for your neighbors — and for you.

Plan Your Approach

The first step in approaching your homeowners association or condo board is to carefully prepare your arguments. The Citizens for Pets in Condos organization has a free downloadable presentation on the health benefits of pets that can be used to help convince homeowners or condo associations to drop no-pet rules.

(I looked over the presentation and thought they did a very good job, and then laughed when I saw my own Healing Power of Pets book cited as source material. No wonder I liked it!)

But what if the health benefits argument is getting you nowhere? If you live in California, no-pet rules aren’t just unfair, they’re unlawful. That’s the word from Jerry Thornton, who’s married to VetStreet pet expert Kim Campbell Thornton and has served as president of their homeowners association in Lake Forest, Calif. Before the current law was passed, the Thorntons worked to ensure that pets were welcome in their community. The key? Jerry Thornton says it’s reasonable limits  — and rules that are followed.

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