Q: My co-op recently instituted a pet registration policy. Owners are now being asked to provide details about their pets including distinguishing features, vaccination history, and contact information for veterinarians and pet sitters. I understand that management needs to know who owns a pet, but this level of inquiry feels invasive and unnecessary. I have a cat that never leaves the apartment. Am I obligated to provide all this granular detail?
A: Co-ops generally have the right to set conditions about companion pets, enacting rules about leashing, vaccinations and the collection of basic information.
Check your building’s governing documents to see what exists about pet rules. However, even if you don’t find much, you’re going to have a hard time pushing back on this policy. Boards have considerable discretion in their decision-making because of what is known as the business judgment rule.
“That discretion is difficult to challenge in court unless the co-op is unlawfully discriminating, or violating some agreement,” said Darryl M. Vernon, a real estate lawyer who represents people with companion animals.
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