(originally published in Fall 2000)

Perhaps in response to the 1994 California Supreme Court case Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Association, which held that a provision in a homeowners association’s CC&Rs prohibiting pets was not “unreasonable”, the California legislature recently added a new section to the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act which will ensure that pets have a continued place in association living. Civil Code Section 1360.5, which becomes effective January 1, 2001, places restrictions on the ability of associations to prohibit pets in their governing documents. Section 1360.5 only applies to governing documents that are new, amended, or modified after January 1, 2001. The new law also allows those pets which are acceptable under the governing documents prior to January 1, 2001 to remain.

The new section requires that owners be allowed a keep a minimum of one “domesticated” pet within a project, subject to reasonable rules and regulations. Section 1360.5 also adds some flexibility to associations by allowing the association and individual owners to reach an agreement as to what animals will be considered “domestic” beyond birds, cats, dogs and aquarium animals. For more on Section 1360.5 and other bills enacted by the legislature this term which affect associations keep an eye out for our next newsletter.