Adams Stirling PLC


QUESTION: Some in our association want to change the rules and allow dogs off leash. Can we eliminate our leash rule if off-leash dogs violate local ordinances?

ANSWER: Unless your governing documents state otherwise, your association is not obligated to adopt and enforce the county's leash ordinance. Because homeowner associations and local governments each have their own jurisdictions and enforcement powers, they operate independently and the ordinances of one do not void the rules of the other.

Overlapping Jurisdictions. Some people struggle with the concept of overlapping jurisdictions; they think that if the association doesn’t adopt city ordinances, the association is somehow breaking the law. Boards enforce HOA rules and cities enforce their own ordinances. Unless the ordinance states otherwise, an association is not obligated nor is it authorized to be the enforcement arm of the city. If an owner violates the city’s leash ordinance, someone notifies the city and the city orders the person to cease violating its ordinance.

If the association’s CC&Rs have a provision that any violation of a local ordinance is deemed a violation of the nuisance provision of the CC&Rs then the association can fine the person, but it does so as a violation of the CC&Rs not as a violation of the ordinance.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

Adams Stirling PLC