Another Helpful Decision About “Transitioning Back” to a No-Pets Provision

In the case of Teno v. Essex Condominium Corporation No. 28, the condominium’s Declaration contained a “no-pets” provision. However, for many years the condominium corporation had not enforced the particular provision against cats. As a result, many cats had been permitted to remain in units.   

The condominium corporation ultimately realized that the failure to enforce the no-pets provision jeopardized the enforceability of the entire provision (for instance, against cats as well as dogs).

As a result, the Board decided, in 2017, to enact a Rule permitting the existing cats (the legacy cats) but stating that pets would otherwise be prohibited in accordance with the Declaration. Owners of legacy cats were required to register their pet (with a picture) for the legacy exemption to the rule by a certain deadline, which allowed the Corporation to create registry of the legacy pets.

One of the owners challenged the Rule. The owner argued that the Rule was an improper attempt to amend the no-pets provision in the Declaration (by allowing the legacy cats).

The CAT held that the Rule was valid and reasonable. The CAT said:

Rule 27 may be viewed as a bridge to transition ECC28 from non-compliance with the No Pets Provision to compliance. It is an attempt to balance the provisions of the declaration with the interests of those who have had cats in their units, in some cases for years, due to the non-enforcement of the No Pets Provision.

In my view, the condominium corporation’s Rule was an excellent way to transition back to full enforcement of a provision that has not been consistently enforced in the past.

Stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on pet provisions!