Are Tenants Allowed to Have Pets?

A Landlord May Attempt to Screen Out Tenants With Pets When Initially Reviewing Rental Applications; However, a Lease Clause Containing a Pet Ban Is Void. A Pet Ban Is Only Valid In Very Specific Circumstances.

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

Despite the rule per section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 that voids a pet ban, there are exceptions to the rule. The exceptions that would allow a ban upon a pet can be found 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.

Accordingly, if a pet is causing damage to the property, or disruption and interference to others, a 'no pets' condition may be permitted.  Additionally, if a municipal bylaw or other authority forbids the presence of pets, or if the tenancy is within a condominium corporation where the Condominium Declarations forbid the presence of pets, such may, and likely does, over rule the 'no pets' provision and the landlord may, and likely will, be successful in banning a pet.

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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