This Is our Village

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Feline Bylaws

If an association changes its bylaws 'from one cat allowed', to 'no cats' do people who bought a unit with 'on condition that we can have cat' written in their contract have any protection. In one case they intend to rent the unit out and felt the 'cat permission' was a crucial feature.


  1. I feel if the by-laws were changed when the unit had the cat already than the cat should stay but after the cat dies it shouldn't be replaced. If the renter leased when the old by-laws were in place, they should be allowed to have the cat. In our building we are allowed only to have 1 cat in the unit, not outside. No dogs or exotic pets allowed. We can have birds or fish.

  2. I'm not am attorney but I'm pretty certain that you cannot discriminate. If cats are allowed I believe that all pets must be allowed. I wonder if anyone knows the answer.

  3. Our bylaws, like many in the Village, said "No pets," but I think there was some wiggle room for the board to make an exception (which, of course, could open a can of worms). In the meantime a couple of our residents each had a cat. Nobody minded this, and nothing was done about enforcing the rule. We felt, however, that this opened the door for someone making the case for a dog, or multiple cats or whatever, so we changed the bylaw to allow a service dog, one cat, one bird and fish.

    Your situation is different, I know, and I don't know the answer to it. Often, when a privilege is taken away, those who WERE legal are grandfathered in (can continue exercising the privilege). If so, I would expect that whoever owned the unit could continue to rent to someone with a cat, but when ownership of the unit changed, the new owner would be under the new law. But I don't know, Elaine.

    It's Cathy's hypothetical that amuses me. It's a little different from your situation, I think. It seems it would have the the cat himself being grandfathered in! He's okay until HE dies (or, I suppose, moves)!

    This has me thinking about T. S. Eliot and all his cat poems. He has a good one on naming cats, Elaine. Maybe if you get the right name, you could slip him by all the rules. "Macavity? Why, he's like one of us! HE'S okay....."

  4. Again my question is if you allow cats, birds and fish I still think you have opened the door to allow dogs. Nowadays just filling out a piece of paper and having a doctor sign it and possibly one day of training and now you have a "service dog" for your emotional needs. I'm not saying that people don't need a dog for emotional reasons but I think anyone could fit that description. If you are depressed, anxious, etc. that would probably entitle you to have a service dog.

  5. From what I understand, no matter how your bylaws are worded, service dogs must be allowed, because of a higher law that prevails. Yes, people were passing off any dog as a "service dog" with a signed slip of paper, but I think this is being cracked down on now, and you can't away with it that easily.


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