Q: My cooperative recently implemented a pet registration policy. Owners are now asked to provide details about their pets, including their differentiators, vaccination history, and contact information for veterinarians and pet sitters. I understand management needs to know who owns a pet, but this type of investigation feels invasive and unnecessary. I have a cat that never leaves the apartment. Do I have to provide all of these granular details?
A: In principle, cooperatives have the right to set conditions for pets, rules for leashes, vaccinations and the collection of basic information.
Check your building's applicable documents to see what exists about pet rules. But even if you don't find much, you will have a hard time pushing this policy back. Due to the so-called Business Judgment Rule, the boards have considerable discretion in their decision-making.
"This discretion is difficult to challenge in court unless the cooperative is unlawfully discriminating or in breach of an agreement," said Darryl M. Vernon, a real estate attorney who represents people with pets.
Your cooperative's new rule is actually pretty common. Buildings often collect personal information about pets to keep track of their comings and goings. You do this to protect pets and people. A dog could be injured or hurt another person in a common area of the building if the owner is not present. The dog sitter or sitter may not know the name of the veterinarian or if the dog is up to date on their vaccinations. If the building has this information, it can act quickly in an emergency.
Even house cats occasionally flee their homes and can get into trouble. If your cat wanders the hallways without a collar, knowing what the cat looks like may make it easier for management to figure out where it belongs. As for the names of pet sitters, buildings often collect the personal information of regular vendors for security reasons.
"Believe it or not, that kind of information is now the norm," said Dan Wurtzel, president of FirstService Residential New York, a real estate management firm. “It serves the protection of the residents and the security of the residents. It shouldn't be a pain point for the residents. "
One building that represents FirstService even goes so far as to ask for pet droppings. Since you are only asking for general information, it is best to comply with the request.
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