Do laws apply to cohousing? [was renter's role in decision making
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 06:21:36 -0700 (PDT)
On Jul 30, 2014, at 9:52 PM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> wrote:

> State enabling legislation has nothing whatsoever to say, one way or the 
> other, about pet policy, or frequency of painting the exterior, or vegetarian 
> options in the meals program, or what hour the teens have to stop making a 
> ruckus in the common house

In DC, a condo is under all the same codes as any other residential structure. 
So if the noise reaches the neighbors, it is illegal. If the grass grows too 
tall the city will cut it and charge you.

We finally got a pet policy because we called the office of animal control to 
ask if the laws about dogs being "under the control of the owner" or being 
allowed to run free in their yards applied to us. Was our property private or 

The response was that the common spaces are not private yards on which owners 
would be allowed to let their dogs run free. The only way we could do that 
legally would be for the Association (she said "Board") to assume 
responsibility for any injury. That was a moot point so the dog owners had to 
stand down. 

One had maintained that their dog was their child and should have all the 
freedoms the other children had. Others had maintained that we were private 
property, their property, and they could make their own decision on the matter. 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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