Is Your Pet Legal? Pet Ownership and Condo Rules Explained
Yorkshire Terrierby Vera Kratochvil
Here is a short summary of the rules you need to know regarding pets whether you are a condominium buyer or renter.
- If you are a landlord, you cannot prohibit a tenant from having a pet, unless the condominium declaration says no pets.
- If the condominium declaration says no pets, it will take 80% of all the owners to change this.
- If the condominium owner claims that they need a pet because of a physical or mental disability, then this is a Human Right’s issue and if they supply the appropriate medical support, then they should be able to keep their pet, yet it could involve expensive court proceedings. Joanne Kinslow was a tenant in a condominium that did not allow pets. She brought in 2 cats after moving into the unit. She claimed that she was physically and emotionally dependent on these cats and would suffer harm if she had to remove them. Yet she offered no medical evidence to support her claim and she was ordered to remove the cats.
- If there is a rule limiting the size of a pet, to for example 25 or 50 pounds, then these are legitimate and owners must also comply with them. In the case of york condominium corporation v. Dvorchik, the corporation passed a rule limiting the size of any animal to 25 pounds. The owner challenged it, saying it was improper. The court held that the reasons for passing the rule, to promote safety for anyone using the stairs or otherwise enjoying the common elements, was reasonable.
- If the condominium board determines that any pet is a nuisance, then they can apply to force the owner to remove the pet, even if it is permitted in the condominium documents.
In September of 2010, the condominium corporation near Bay and Bloor St. in Toronto brought an action to force one of its owners, Natalia Korolekh, to remove her pet rotweiler and sell her unit, as a result of her continued intimidating behaviour towards the other occupants of the building, including her refusal to clean up after her dog.
In the case of Daniela Ramadani, while the condominium documents permitted pets, she failed to supervise her pet, which barked continuously, bothering the other owners, and she permitted the dog to urinate off her balcony, causing a nuisance to the owner directly below her. The corporation was successful in having her remove the dog.
The lesson here is to make sure that you understand all of the pet rules in a condo before signing any offers. You do not want to buy your dream place only to find out later that the building does not permit pets.
In my own law practice, working with Real Property Transaction Centres, we offer a review of any condominium status certificate or new condominium builder agreement at no extra charge. When we offer any quotation for our legal services, it includes any fees and disbursements for the occupancy closing as well. Whenever you or your client asks for a quote for legal services, make sure that you get it in writing and that it includes all fees, HST and disbursements that you will be charged.