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Real Answers

August 14, 1994

My neighbor has a potbelly pig that smells and grunts. Can my condo association take action to get rid of this nuisance?

Yes, the association can try to both enact and enforce pet restrictions. But such restrictions are currently being challenged in a case before the California Supreme Court.

The case of "Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Association" set the stage for a legal conflict between the rights of homeowners and the powers of condo association boards.

Natore Nahrstedt, a resident of Lakeside Village Condominiums in Culver City, believed it was reasonable for her to keep three cats even though her deed restrictions read, "No animals (which shall mean dogs and cats), livestock, reptiles or poultry shall be kept in any unit." She filed suit after the board assessed fines of $500 a month against her.

In overturning a lower court decision that ruled in favor of the Lakeside Village association, a California appeals court "sought to limit overly technical and petty rule enforcement and to make sure that CC&R violations would only be prosecuted if they involved some provable harm or inconvenience to other owners," according to Evan McKenzie, author of "Privatopia, Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government," (Yale University Press: 1994).

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