Guide on renting to pet owners in Ontario

A lot of confusion exists with regard to renting with pets. Not many potential tenants are aware of laws that govern owning tenants while renting property in Ontario.

The guidelines in the law regarding pets are clearly spelt out in the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act 2006. Generally, Ontario is one of the friendliest places for animal lovers to rent an apartment in Canada. Renting with a pet should not be a nightmare for both the tenant and the landlord.

Renting To Pet Owners in Ontario

The law provides for landlords in Ontario to refuse to rent their properties to tenants with pets. Landlords have the right to reject a tenant if they suspect that they have pets and will move in with them. The law allows landlords to investigate whether or not prospective tenants have pets before and refuse to rent out a unit to them.

You must understand that the pet protections apply only to tenants. Equally, pet ownership is not a human right. However, Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act restricts landlords from including no-pet clauses in rental agreements.

You have no protections as a pet owner until you have entered into a rental agreement. A landlord cannot evict a tenant for pet ownership once they have accepted a tenant no matter the existence of contract stipulation or verbal agreements. Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2006 states that a provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void meaning that the landlord is powerless in enforcing any agreement prohibiting presence of animals after the tenant signs a contract.

Exceptions in the Act are meant for tenants that require a service dog due to a disability. Persons with disability should not be discriminated against and are protected by federal legislation and provincial human rights legislation.

Can A Landlord Evict You For Having A Pet?

The Drewlo Holdings Inc. v. Weber, 2011 ONSC 6407 stipulated that landlords must not use other contractual provisions to force tenants out of the property due to pet ownership. As per the case, a landlord attempted to increase rent for all tenants who were pet owners in his property. The rent increases did not apply for all other tenants who did not have pets. When the matter was brought to the Court, the judge found that the action of the landlord or their representative was interfering with the right of the tenant to reasonable enjoyment of the property. The action was found to have detracted the tenants from their ability to lawfully use their property.

The provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act do not apply for condos. Condominium corporations are permitted to prohibit keeping of pets in a unit as regulated by the Condominium Act. If a condominium corporation’s governing documents or bylaws prohibit pets, the rule is enforceable under law as per the Ontario Condominium Act of 1998. Condominiums are mandated to create their own regulations on safety, enjoyment of property, and welfare where they have the leeway to regulate pet ownership. The law allows the condo board to specify the number of pets, types of pets, and size of animals that can be kept in a unit. The bylaws are binding and the condo board has the power to evict or fine tenants who flout them. However, they must be explicitly stated in the Condominium’s declaration so that tenants are fully aware of the bylaws.

Can a landlord say no pets? In other types of properties, you will not face eviction for getting a pet after moving in. The law offers protection for tenants regardless of whether the landlord was aware of the pet at the time of moving in. You can also learn what regulations exist for landlords who want to check your rental apartment here.

The Residential Tenancies Act spells out conditions where the landlord has the right to evict a tenant due to the presence of a pet. The landlord can evict a tenant with a troublesome pet that is dangerous, constantly disturbing neighbors, and causing damage to the property. The pet could also be causing another tenant to suffer severe allergies whereby the owner must find a method of ensuring a fellow tenant is not bothered. Failure to find a solution for the problem will lead to eviction.

The landlord should always bring any matter to the attention of the tenant before taking any action. The tenant has the opportunity to take action to mitigate the raised issue. For example, a tenant can foot the cost of repairs if their pet has caused damage to the property. If the animal is a nuisance to neighbors, the tenant can limit the level of exposure to neighbors such as preventing the animal from being outside if it is causing allergies or training the dog to stop incessant barking. To obtain an eviction, the tenant will have failed to take any corrective action. The landlord will move to the Landlord and Tenants Boards to obtain an eviction order.

Landlords must be neutral with regard to pet ownership. The landlord has no legal grounds to penalize or sanction a tenant over a pet if there is no damage, financial or otherwise, to their property. It is illegal for a landlord to demand a pet deposit. However, the landlord will take the deposit if a tenant offers to pay a pet deposit. It is attractive for landlords since it shows that the tenant will be taking care of their unit to prevent pet damage.

Finally, lookout for what local laws in different municipalities say with regard to pet ownership and renting with a pet. Some municipalities have placed restrictions on the number of pets that can be kept in a home. For example, Toronto limits an individual home to no more than six cats and no more than three dogs. Make sure to check to avoid run-ins with law enforcement or even confiscation of your pet.