Letter Sept. 28, 2016: Pet Policy

Recently, your Board sent an opinion survey to all Owners asking whether you would approve having pets in our building. The intent of the survey was to inform the Board as to whether the current rule banning pets in the Fort Sumter House residences should remain. The results of the survey indicate that 34% of Owners approve having pets in the building, while 52% disapprove (14% did not respond).

The restrictive covenants of the FSH Master Deed makes several statements regarding animals, including permitting household pets at the Fort Sumter House, raising questions about whether a vote of the majority of the Board or 2/3rds of the Owners is required to decide on whether to ban household pets in the building. The Board has studied this issue thoroughly and as a result of strong differences of opinion regarding the language of our document among the Board members, it requested that the Association’s attorney, Capers Barr, IV, review the Association’s Master Deed documents. Mr. Barr has provided an opinion to the Board that our rule enacted by the Board, banning household pets, was validly enacted by the Board in 1992, and that the Board has authority to make such rules and regulations regulating household pets at the Fort Sumter House.

Based on Mr. Barr’s legal opinion, and taking into consideration the survey opinions against changing the policy banning pets at the Fort Sumter House residences, the Board, at this time, will not change the rule banning pets.

Despite having a “no pet” policy, FSH is required by law to comply with the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 which requires that we make a “reasonable accommodation” to Owners who have a medically documented physical, mental, or emotional disability. This includes prescriptions for a support animal such as a dog or cat. In the near future we will communicate a Support Animal Policy.

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