Both Sides of the Pet Issue

September 2023

Some communities allow pets, with or without restrictions, while they are prohibited in others.

It is illegal to prohibit pets in rental buildings.  The same applies to condominium buildings unless stated in the condominium declaration which may impose restrictions on allowed pets.

For those who work at home, or spend more time there, pets are increasingly important as companions.  They can be a reason for getting out of bed in the morning or stepping outside during the day.  They can provide security when walking at night or through isolated areas.

Pet friendly communities include amenities such as pet waste bags and disposal bins, walking areas, off-leash dog runs, grooming or cleaning area, and on-site pet care services.  They may require pets to be registered with the management office, and charge fees to cover related cleaning, repair and enforcement measures.  Some require that each pet provide a waste DNA sample to a designated service to facilitate enforcement of pet waste measures.

Communities impose pet restrictions to protect property and residents, and recognize that many want nothing to do with pets belonging to others.  Reasonable pet restrictions may include:

  • Weight or size limitations
  • Maximum number of pets per unit
  • Prohibiting any pet deemed to be a nuisance or potential threat by the board or condominium manager, or a danger to residents
  • Prohibition on unattended pets on balconies, patios, exclusive-use common elements, or some common areas
  • All pets must be on a leash or carried while on the indoor common elements
  • Pets entering or exiting the building only through designated doors

Many reasonably oppose relaxing pet restrictions.  Too many pet owners allow excessive barking from their dog, or fail to prevent it from lunging at others.  They fail to pick up after their pets and allow them to damage common areas.  These are behaviours that should be managed by pet owners.  Larger pets are a greater concern to those with young children and to seniors.  Condo boards are rightfully concerned about ensuring pet care or discipline lapses are not a burden or threat to other residents.

Changing the declaration to allow or disallow pets in a community is difficult.  It requires the consent of owners of 80 percent of the units by way of a vote.  Getting around the situation by claiming a pet is an emotional support animal and falsifying documentation is unlikely to succeed.

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