Animal companions are an integral part of many people’s families, even that of apartment tenants and condominium residents. This may create tension between the pet’s owners (“guardians”) and their respective landlords and condo corporations. In Ontario, no-pet clauses in apartment buildings are not enforceable, however, the strict regulations prohibiting pets in condo units may be enforceable. Most if not all condo laws provide against the ability for their unit holders to have animals or pets. The main questions that are often asked are whether these condo corps can effectively ban pets and if they can require their unit holders to remove their pets if they already have them.[i] This can be devastating for many families.

Condo residents may look to the declaration, which is the main document for the condo, as well as their by-laws, rules, and regulations to review their restrictions on having pets or animal companions. Some rules against the ability to have pets in condo units include that of pet restrictions on types of animals, the number of animals, as well as the size of animals. These, as per the declaration, apply to all unit holders in the same fashion. In rare instances, condominium corporations entirely ban animals from the building. However, in recent years, the courts have considered entire bans on animals unreasonable in some situations.

In fact, the Human Rights Code will allow exceptions to be made under the condo’s rules and regulations as it relates to accommodations for unit holders with disabilities requiring the use of service animals. A unit holder may be permitted to have a seeing-eye dog in their unit despite the condo corporation’s restrictions regarding the size of an animal. In addition, unit holders requiring the use of seizure response dogs, dogs capable of alerting others immediately after a person begins having an epileptic seizure, may be permitted to have these dogs despite strict regulations on noise requirements.

Obtaining a lawyer with experience in this specialization may help grant you the ability to continue having your animal companion(s) in your condo unit! If a condo is seeking to remove a pet, the lawyers and mediators at Gartner & Associates have experience in animal-related disputes with condominium corporations and may assist you in keeping your pet at home. In recent years, mediation has been an option for resolving pet and condominium disputes. To find out more about pet ownership and condominiums, and the law surrounding this area, you can contact the lawyers and mediators at Gartner & Associates. They can be reached at 416-849-0944.

[i] Duggan, Tim. “Reasonable Doubt: Can Condo Corporations Ban or Restrict Pets?” NOW Magazine, NOW Magazine, 19 Dec. 2017, nowtoronto.com/news/reasonable-doubt-can-condo-corporations-ban-or-restrict-pets/.

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