I lease a condo unit in the City of Toronto and am bound to condo rules set out in 1999. I am also the owner of an elderly dog (Jack Russell) who from time to time will let out one bark in the lobby while exiting the building. This could be during the day and other times after 11pm. Condo rules state: No pet shall be permitted to make excessive noise and for the purpose of this provision “excessive noise” shall be deemed to mean noise which is annoying or disturbing to another owner or resident.
This rule is a bit convoluted as one bark according to City of Toronto bylaw standards would not be considered excessive yet in accordance with this outdated condo rule would be considered annoying or disturbing. Can condo management enforce removal of the pet? Further, is there a provision or law so to speak stating condo rules should be updated from time to time?
Response from Toronto Condo News
Rules such as the one you describe are not uncommon. Barking is one of many problems high-rise communities contend with when it comes to dogs. While pet owners may consider some barking reasonable, non-pet owners tend to disagree. Communities establish rules and policies to keep disruption to a minimum.
Most communities are reasonable in their enforcement and a periodic bark is unlikely to result in complaints or enforcement of rules. The issue may relate to frequency or timing. Some daytime sounds, which can include barking, become unreasonable at night when most are trying to sleep. While one bark every once in awhile may seem minor to a pet owner, someone scared by the bark or awakened will feel differently.
Most communities are not allowed to prohibit pets. Condo boards have authority to establish and implement rules governing noise and pet conduct to balance the interests of pets, pet owners and others in the community. A majority of owners in disagreement with a change in rules can oppose the change. The board and management are expected to enforce rules equally among all residents.
Condo rules should be updated when no longer valid. A rule implemented in 1999 is not necessarily invalid if circumstances have not changed. Rules more stringent than City of Toronto bylaw standards are not uncommon.
Pet owners have a responsibility to ensure their pet does not infringe on the right of others to peaceful enjoyment of their home. If your dog likes to bark when indoors this can be a problem. It may be necessary to take measures ensuring your dog doesn’t bark in the hallways or lobby. The Canadian Kennel Club, which offers a Canine Good Neighbour Program promoting responsible dog ownership, may be able to offer assistance. Dogs are evaluated on their ability to perform basic exercises and their ability to demonstrate good manners in everyday situations.
For information on Condo Pets see Condo Life – Pets in the Condo Archives.
Pets are important family members. We hope you are successful at resolving this issue.