Nahrstedt v. Lakeside Village Condominium Association, Inc.

8 Cal.4th 361 (1994)


Nahrstedt (P), a homeowner in Lakeside Village Condominium Association, Inc. (D), sued to prevent enforcement of a restriction against keeping cats and dogs in her unit. The project consisted of 530 units in 12 separate 3-story buildings. P has purchased her condo in 1988 and moved in with her three cats. When D learned of the presence of the cats, it demanded their removal and assessed fines. P claimed that the restriction was unreasonable, as her cats are indoor pets, are noiseless, and do not create a nuisance. She had kept her three cats in her unit and had accumulated several penalties assessed by D. P sought declaratory relief, allowing her to keep cats in her unit, and relief from the obligation to pay fines to D. D demurred to the complaint, and the trial court sustained the demurrer and dismissed P’s action. P appealed. A divided Court of Appeal reversed and concluded that the homeowner’s association could enforce the restriction upon P only if it had proof that P’s cats would be likely to interfere with the right of other homeowners to the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their property. According to the majority, whether a condominium use restriction is unreasonable as that term is used in civil code section 1354, hinges on the facts of a particular homeowner’s case. Thus, P was entitled to declaratory relief if applicable of the pet restriction in her case would not be reasonable. D appealed.