HoA languages


Wife and I are in the process of looking at homes.

The HoA laws have a section on animals, and it’s got me concerned. Are reptiles not allowed here, especially breeding? Or am I right to think it means on the lot itself, and not in the dwelling?


At first glance it appears that you can have reptiles but not breed them. I’m not entirely sure if that means you can breed them in the dwelling or not though. Also, as a german shepherd lover and owner, the rule about the dogs is absolutely awful.


So to update, I read a bit further and they amended the document to remove the brief snippet regarding dangerous dogs. Im glad that it’s out of there, I don’t agree that restricting that is necessary, or helpful.

I was thinking that reptiles can be kept, as they can be household pets, I’d just imagine they don’t want you breeding


The way that it is worded for how I’m reading it is as domestic only… So certain reptiles may be a very grey area. Like maybe limited to what you see at a local big box. Note how it defines hobby as well. Not companionship
It’s something that may be very hard for them to enforce as the reptiles will most likely be kept to only your inside spaces… But any word of it to the neighbor or someone being nosy about the things delivered to your home and you may be dealing with some $$ issues.

Personally… I am hoping when I do some browsing of the housing market of my own area I want to avoid HOAs. Why do I want to pay extra money every month for someone to tell me what kind of plants my lawn can have or what animals I can have indoors?


Here is a way to seek clarity without shooting yourself in the foot - Via email, contact someone on the HoA, preferably higher up the food chain, and ask them about fish. Just hypothetically. Tell them you used to keep cichlids and you were thinking about starting up again but the language in the blurb made you concerned that breeding them as part of your hobby would be disallowed. If/when they reply that hobby breeding of fish inside your house is not an issue then thank them and keep the email on file if anyone ever comes after you for having snakes as household pets. Because, fundamentally, breeding fish as a hobby and breeding reptiles as a hobby are not all that different


That’s a good idea. Cichlids are such a specific fish they’ll probably need to look up the info unless they personally keep them.

I just don’t like the wording of ‘household pet’ and mentioning hobby as a reason they are not to be kept.
That can exclude anything not considered domesticated


This is what I was getting too. It seems very vague, and I often wonder if places keep it vague to help them enforce things that may fall “out of scope”.

a LOT of the newer/nicer neighborhoods in my area are part of HoA’s. So it’s a little tricky to try to get away from/avoid. I understand their intent, and sometimes they do well at keeping a community looking great, but I’ve heard horror stories of them overreaching.

Good suggestion. I like this a lot. Definitely going to try to contact someone and use this as an example. The way I’m reading it now, is that I could have reptiles, ie ball pythons as they are household pets, I just can’t breed them. But i’d like to know if thats the case, or why they are specifying it that way. as @armiyana mentions, the mention of hobby specifically raise concerns.


The way the first sentence reads, I would not chance it. I would look somewhere else to buy your house.

I have friends who have lived in HoA, and they all hate it. There is always someone who thinks they own / king of the neighborhood. The way most non reptile people are, they would force you to get rid of your reptile and probably fine you. It’s not worth the headache.

I live on a nice secluded dead end street on 2 acres for 27 years. There are only 13 homes on my street, and I would say only about 5 homes know I have reptiles.


I think I’m going to get some clarity and document it, as travis mentioned. The way the leave it is VERY vague. Which could help them enforce more, or could also hurt them as they don’t explicity state that in their requirements. I’ll let you all know what I find out. Thanks!


So… I think I’ve figured out part of the confusion. They explicitly state the definition of “lot” at the beginning of the HoA, referring to any land portion that a dwelling resides on. This to me means that pets inside are fair game, as they aren’t on the “lot”. Updated screenshot with the “new” language of the animal section.


Also here’s a snippet of the definition of the “lot” that is being referred to.


I’m afraid legally in USA real estate “Lot” usually refers to the property boundaries of the parcel and ANY of the groundspace inside it. They mean your house, even it’s interior, the yard, the driveway, etc. That’s the Lot. So far it looks like they say no animals can be bred on your lot (property) in this HOA area.
(My dayjob used to be and partly still is in the real estate sector)

So I think TH Wyman up there is a GENIUS for saying ask hypothetically about Fish. People aren’t terrified unreasonably of Cichlids. See if they’d amend it to Tank-Kept pets or something equally innocuous.


I hate HOAs and how vague their rules are sometimes. I’m convinced they leave the language vague on purpose, so they can weaponize those vague rules against anyone they decide they don’t like. But maybe I’m just cynical. :joy:

Travis’s suggestion of asking about fish is a good idea.

I live in a condo complex with an HOA, and we’ve encountered rules suddenly changing, or randomly deciding to start enforcing rules that were never enforced before, when there’s a change in the HOA leadership. Though fortunately, it’s never been more than a minor annoyance to date.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not even sure what the rules are for pets with my HOA. I rent my unit from my mom, and she knows about and approves of my pets (my cats pose way more of a risk of property damage than any of my exotics), but I don’t know what the specific HOA rules are. I’m probably breaking some pet rule on the books, but I keep to myself and my animals are all inside the unit, so nobody’s complained. :person_shrugging: Though I understand why someone else might not want to take that risk. I also don’t breed anything, so all my animals fall under the “household pets” category (though I still probably have more animals than they’d want me to have).

I do think that “lot” generally means the unit (the interior and exterior of the whole home), so it sounds like they don’t want you breeding animals. But ask about it in the context of fish, maybe they wouldn’t have a problem with breeding tank-dwelling critters.


I understand that’s usually the definition, but see above. They specifically state that it is any land portion of the property upon which it is intended for a dwelling to reside. If they’re limiting their self to that definition, that’s what I’d have to abide by, no?
Editing to add, they use the word property in the definition of lot, and property sounds like it’s fitting the description of what you’re referring to here. @athleticshoelace. It specifically says land portion of the Property, so I’m thinking that distinction matters.

I do agree asking about the cichlids is a good idea, none the less.


I live in a huge subdivision with an HOA to pay dues to. Not that it matters but we have lived here for 14 years. It is my understanding/opinion that the HOA’s purpose is to keep the appearance of said subdivision neat and orderly by enforcing rules and regulations regarding how properties/lots are kept within said subdivision, such as but not limited to:

Yards mown
Trash cans probably stored
No livestock (chickens etc)
No trash in yards
No yard barns
No unsightly vehicles in driveways
No rvs parked in driveways/yards
No dogs chained outside
No dogs allowed to run loose
No outside puppy mills (some people claim this as owning livestock)
Etc. you get the idea

However what you keep inside your home is, imo, not subject to HOA rules and regulations, unless it affects the outside appearance of the home. If you want to house and/or breed snakes in your garage or inside home, that should be your own concern, not the HOA’s. Now if you put a big sign in your front yard advertising your snakes for sale, that would get you in trouble, not so much for the snakes in your house but for the sign in your yard. And then of course the business you are running out of your house in a subdivision with an HOA! Lol!

Of course if you ever want to add on to your house or garage to expand your breeding space you would most likely have to go through the HOA to get permission to add on, as we did when we put up a chain link fence and also when we widened our patio, as these changes affected the outside appearance of our lot/house. But I did not have to get permission to accidentally breed my 2 pet boas! lol!

My post is based on if you own your home as we do. If you rent your home it’s yours and your landlord’s responsibility to please the HOA.

However if you want to be for sure, you can always ask the HOA. Even if you don’t ask the HOA, you should still be ok unless there is a clause in the HOA agreement that specifically states no reptile breeding of any species within the dwelling. In my opinion………


Also @nswilkerson1 I forgot to mention that I have had my big boas out in the yard with people walking on the trail behind my house and I have also brought snakes to the fence for people to see. My neighbors next door know about my accidental boa litter. They decided they wanted a snake for their kids and as they are renting, they asked their landlord if snakes were allowed in the lease terms. Of course snakes were allowed so now voila! They have a snake too! :+1::blush:


From being on a hoa board before, things are worded very loosely.
No pets, usually do not include your typical pets, inside pets, caged pets. (this is somewhat stated)
The line about outside & nuisance, is what they are trying to stop.
Breeding, is mostly for large breeding, business reasons. Having a dog or cat and wanting puppies/kittens from them would be excluded. (they do not want foot traffic from buyer, large or constant deliveries)

Fish is a good example, they do breed and you might not be able to contact it. This can not be enforced. But I do not think I would ask this, as it does not state “Reptiles”, just “fish”. Someone could hold this against you.

I would personally just do it. As you will probably find out that just about everyone there is breaking or on the border of breaking at least one item on their list.
If they can not come in your house to inspect, then they will never know. The hoa board are usually the ones that break the rules. And they don’t want it to come back on them.

These can not be changed easily, usually the majority of lot owners will have to vote to have it changed. And this usually does not happen. As you can have something changed that will effect them. No one wants to go down this road.

(business section) you would find that having a small business making crafts would be allowed, even though it is not stated. Working out of your house is usually allowed, but not listed. Being a realtor would be allowed, but not listed. They don’t want the foot traffic.


This probably isn’t the best option. Fish can not escape like reptiles can. If you choose to do this, I would probably use turtles. As they fall into the same category and could possibly escape.
But this could still come back and bit you. As they could tell you “you asked about turtles, not snakes” . I found the the best way is not to mention it. You would also need to have them in a location if neighbors come over, they won’t see them. Even if approved. As everyone knows most people don’t like or trust snakes, and could try to get it changed to list snakes under the “not allowed” section.


This is what I had thought, mostly. I know a lot of what HoAs care about is in regards to keeping the neighborhood looking as good and “uniform” as it can to some extent.

While I agree, fully. I’d like to know for sure what the rule reads before we proceeded; so I’m not left wondering or always panicking about what the punishments could be. I’m hoping to get in contact with them today to find clarity.

Yeah, I found that out when reading the rest of the rules, I think something like 2/3 of the members have to agree for it to pass.


Everyone has made great points and suggestions. I would just like to reinforce this:

I have lived in a family owned rental for 13 years and love my neighbors, but none know I have any kind of snake. Snakes are quite easy to conceal and unfortunately for us this is the safest way to proceed. That’s why I don’t have more pics of my retics to show you, they don’t go outside. Ball pythons are easy to hide while I take outdoor pics. Not worth the chance, sorry to say! Too big a stigma still for us weirdos to take the chance!