Can a Landlord Forbid a Tenant From Having a Pet?

Although a Landlord May Ask a Rental Applicant About Pets, Once a Tenancy Starts a Landlord Is Forbidden From Imposing a Pet Ban Except In Very Limited Situations.

A Helpful Guide For How to Determine and Understand Whether a Pet Ban Is Legal and Enforceable

Residential Lease Agreement

It is somewhat common that a lease will contain a 'no pets' clause; however, as per section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O.  2006, Chapter 17, any such provision within a lease agreement is void despite the agreement established between the landlord and tenant; and accordingly, such a clause is unenforceable.  Specifically, the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 states:

14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.

Exceptions

However, and regardless of the section 14 provision within the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 voiding a pet ban, exceptions are possible in a few specific situations. The possible exceptions that may be available that would allow for a valid pet ban are provided in section 76 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 which says:

76 (1) If an application based on a notice of termination under section 64, 65 or 66 is grounded on the presence, control or behaviour of an animal in or about the residential complex, the Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant without being satisfied that the tenant is keeping an animal and that,

(a) subject to subsection (2), the past behaviour of an animal of that species has substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the landlord or other tenants;

(b) subject to subsection (3), the presence of an animal of that species has caused the landlord or another tenant to suffer a serious allergic reaction; or

(c) the presence of an animal of that species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord or the other tenants.

(2) The Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant relying on clause (1) (a) if it is satisfied that the animal kept by the tenant did not cause or contribute to the substantial interference.

(3) The Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant relying on clause (1) (b) if it is satisfied that the animal kept by the tenant did not cause or contribute to the allergic reaction.

Per these exceptions, where it may be shown that a pet is damaging property, genuinely posing a safety risk, unreasonably disrupting or interfering with the peaceful living of others, a pet may be banned. It is also possible that a municipal bylaw, or mandate of another applicable level of government, will restrict rights regarding pets or perhaps pets of a certain breed. Furthermore, if a tenant resides in a unit that is part of a condominium corporation, and the condominium corporation bylaws or proper and formal rules ban pet ownership as prescribed within the applicable Condominium Declarations a pet ban may be valid.

Summary Comment

Where a residential tenancy is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, if a lease includes a pet ban clause, generally, such a clause is void and unenforceable; however, a few exceptions are possible. The possible exceptions include those circumstances where a pet is demonstrably shown as posing safety risks, such as may occur with a dangerous dog breed, or where the pet is demonstrably shown as causing substantial disruption to others living within the residential complex, or possibly even neighbours, by excessive barking or other another form of interference to the living conditions and reasonable enjoyment of others. Additionally, allergy issues may also be demonstrable as a genuine concern. To obtain an Order granting an exception, a landlord must apply to the Landlord Tenant Board.


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