What are our legal options if our landlord will allow us to have a pet but the HOA will not?

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What are our legal options if our landlord will allow us to have a pet but the HOA will not?

We signed a lease, through our respective realtors, with the owner of a townhome which stated that we were allowed to have a pet (a dog). They have received and deposited our deposit of one months rent. On the day we were to take possession, we were told that unbeknownst to the landlord/owner, the HOA had changed the by-laws stating that tenants may not have pets; only owners may have pets. It is now 5 days past the date that we were to receive keys; we are currently paying the utilities. Now we’re being told that we will have to wait for the board of the HOA to vote. What can we do?

Asked on March 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately for you, the HOA's rules take precedence over the landlord's wishes or the lease. The landlord can only give you the rights he or she has--which means that if the rules do not allow tenants to have pets, the landlord cannot give you the right to do so.

You should have the right to void (or cancel) the lease, and receive ack any deposit(s): contracts may be voided when they are rendered impossible by either practicality (for example, if the house had burned down) or by changes in laws or rules. Since it is now impossible for the landlord to rent you a home in which you can keep your pet, you may void the lease.


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