Cat Ownership and HOAs

At what point to cat lovers become cat hoarders? This has long been a debate in many communities around the country. Recently, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles City Council is considering an increase in the number of cats residents can harbor in a private residence from three to five.

As an HOA, it’s easy to see why this is potentially problematic. At some point, owners are unable to adequately care for their furry friends. This leads to sanitation issues and often has neighbors up in arms – particularly about cats living all or part time outdoors.

But, according to the article, the proposed rule change is primarily about saving cats, not encouraging cat hoarding. “We want to give loving community members an opportunity to become part of the solution by adopting and/or fostering altered shelter cats in their homes,” said Brenda Barnette, General Manager, Los Angeles Animal Services.

The proposed change in the law would allow a person with five cats to have no more than three cats that live part or all the time outdoors. Two of the cats would have to live indoors at all times. Most agree the problem is that the rule is not easily enforceable, if at all.

HOAs, fret not!

Your CC&Rs supersede any ruling on this case. in fact, most communities have long since had more strict rules regarding pet ownership. Furthermore, just because the city law says that an owner can have outdoor cats, does not mean that residents in a community association can allow their cats to roam an association’s common area.

At first glance this proposed change from the allowable three to five cats may seem problematic for HOAs. But there is no reason to worry as long as your CC&Rs are in place. Now might be a good time to revisit the pet section!

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