The condominium owners (CO) challenged the right of the condominium association (CA) to regulate their pet cats and to require them to remove the cats. They also claimed that the CA did not enforce the pet rules consistently.
The evidence at the hearing showed that the CO own 4 cats, which they sometimes allow to go outdoors and roam free, causing a neighbor to complain to the CA. The CA's rules prohibit pets from running free in the community and give it the authority to take action to prevent nuisances. As a result of the other resident's complaint the board of directors of the CA held a hearing with the CO and the other resident, and notified the CO that they were in violation of the rules and that the CA would take enforcement action if the violations continued.
The hearing panel found that the CO were in violation of the rules by allowing their pets to roam free. The panel further found that the CA had not taken final action to enforce the rule by imposing fines or other sanctions, and that therefore "all association remedies and procedures have not yet been exhausted" nor have the CO been injured by the CA. The panel dismissed the complaint without prejudice because "[t]he Complaining party must demonstrate that they have been injured due to action taken or failure to act by the Respondent Board of Directors, in order for the dispute to be a matter properly reviewed and decided by this Commission."
[Editor's note: Section 10B-8(3) of the Montgomery County Code requires that there be an actual "dispute" between the parties before the Commission can accept jurisdiction, and Section 10B-9(b) states that "A party must not file a dispute with the Commission until the party makes a good faith attempt to exhaust all procedures or remedies provided for in the association documents.".]