Re: Dogs and common facilities
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2019 13:00:29 -0700 (PDT)
> On Oct 3, 2019, at 3:41 PM, Doug Huston <huston [at]> wrote:

> Although I’m not absolutely positive, I think that allowing service animals 
> in cohousing common houses doesn’t necessarily apply because they are not 
> public places. I’m also sure this varies by state and zoning about whether 
> they are public or not.

In DC and I suspect other states when the legal structure is a condominium, it 
is a public space. This was clarified for us when we investigated the 
requirements of the animal control act. That office said that we were 
considered pubic in terms of animal control because each of us did not own our 
outdoor property. Any animal allowed to run loose was the responsibility of the 
homeowners association and the Board or membership would be liable for any 
injuries or damages.

We have to follow the requirements for exit signs, exit corridors, posting 
maximum occupation, etc. All the electrical wiring and safety lights have to 
follow those for public buildings.nWhen we wanted to build a play structure we 
had to follow the requirements for public playgrounds. We changed the design so 
the requirements were lower since it would have been cost prohibitive.

One way to think about it is what is eligible for liability insurance. I can 
only insure my interior space. The HOA has to insure the common house and 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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