Specializing in the Condos, Co-ops, Townhomes and Villas of Southeast Florida

Bill Cott
Real Estate Broker | Seawatch Realty, Inc.
Email: | Mobile: (954) 494-5812

Southeast Florida Pet Friendly Condos

Pet Friendly Condos in Southeast Florida

If you are currently looking to purchase or lease a “Pet Friendly” condo, co-op, townhome or villa, your search efforts are most likely revealing that not every Association is accepting of your extended-family member. As real estate professionals in Southeast Florida, experience has shown us finding our customers a residence in which they can find acceptance, not just tolerance of their pet, is the best approach. With that in mind, we hope you find the following information below useful in understanding the typical pet restrictions Associations put in place in an attempt to ensure a harmonized integration of pets and people into their communities. Contact us today to get your "Pet Friendly" search started!

Initial Pet Approval

All pets must be approved by the Association, prior to being brought onto the property. You are not registering your pet. You are requesting for your pet to be approved and accepted into the community. Most Associations have a vetting process that consists of pet type, size and temperament. Since temperament is also a consideration, that will mean the Association will also want to meet your pet in person. Do they want to meet your cat? Most likely not, but they will want to meet your dog. Association approval is for that particular animal. That is why they require a photo of your pet be kept on file.

Tenants: Some Associations have restrictions against Tenants having pets and only permit Owners to have pets.

For information regarding "Emotional Support Animals", please see "The Most Frequesntly Asked Questions" section below.

Types of Pets Permitted

For the purpose of our discussion here, most of the pets being permitted are dogs and cats. Associations do permit other animals, per their rules. For instance, fish might be permitted. The issue that most Associations have with fish tanks is liability. When a 100+ gallon fish tank breaks and water flows down to the units below, there is an insurance issue that the board has to consider. As far as birds like parrots, noise is always the consideration. Parrots and other birds are wonderful pets, but they are generally not quiet, nor should they have to be, they are birds. Most Associations give approval consideration based on two things, liability and consideration to its residents. If your pet does not concern the board with those two factors, then it might work in a Pet Friendly building.

Size and number of Pets

Each association has restrictions on the size and number of pets a resident is permitted. Here is how the "Pet Friendly" condo market is segmented. Looking at the whole condo, co-op, townhome and villa market, about 60% of the listings are Pet Friendly. Of that Pet Friendly subset, 60% permit pets that are 20lbs or less, 30% permit pets over 20+ lbs and about 10% permit Cats only. Of that Pet Friendly subset, 35% permit only 1 pet per unit, 60% permit 2 pets per unit and 5% permit 3+ pets per unit.

Walking Your Pet Outside

There is usually a rule stating that your pet needs to be kept constrained or on a leash when out on the property. That might seem like an obvious consideration since it is just so risky for the animal, but worth mentioning. There are just too many potential mishaps with doors, elevators and cars in parking lots. Some Associations have rules that the pet cannot be brought through the lobby, must use the service elevator or a special "pet elevator" designated for their furry residents. Pets are also almost never permitted in the pool area and city oridinances usually keep them off the beach. With all that said, when looking for a residence, pay special attention to which areas in and around the property will be available for you to walk your pet. If there is a park or other open area close by that might make a significant difference to you and your pet, be sure to make a note of it. That might be the reason to choose one property over another.

The Most Frequently Asked Questions?

Can my guests bring their pets?

In most cases, no pets are permitted on the property unless they have been approved by the association. Associations site that unknown animals could be agressive toward the community, people and animals alike. Some Associations have made mention of liability and to terms in their insurance policies. Most dog owners quickly understand how their neighbors dog gets along with theirs and eventually their animals get to know and trust each other. Frequent new pets can change all that in a hurry....especially when the elevator door closes. In more open-spaced communities, there might be an understandably less restrictive view due to their setting.

I see that other people are walking out of the building with pets- So that means it's Pet Friendly, Right?

Sometimes people make the assumption that because they have seen an individual walk out of a community with a dog, that it is pet friendly. While that assumption might be correct, the truth might be something a little different. The pet policy may have changed and that pet was "grandfathered in". The new pet policy might be pets under 20lbs, cats only, or even no pets at all. In some cases, the dog you saw might even be a Service Animal, which is not even considered a pet by law. Always check the current pet policy to make sure your expectations will be met.

Emotional Support Animals?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) memo from April 25th 2013 says that an “Assistance Animal” need not be specifically trained to perform work or specific tasks and that “Assistance Animals” include “Emotional Support Animals”.  Under The Fair Housing Act (FHA), if an Association receives a request for a “reasonable accommodation” (usually the waiver of a pet restriction), the Association is obligated to provide the accommodation if it is “reasonable”, if the person requesting the accommodation suffers from a “disability”, and if the accommodation will assist with that disability. Disabilities are defined as mental or physical impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities. Major life activities include sleeping, eating, bathing, walking, and working. Please make your own interpretation: HUD Memo

The HUD memo permits an Association to ask persons who are seeking an Emotional Support Animal accommodation to provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional, stating that the animal provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms of an existing disability.