Pets and Condos

Can an owner or tenant of a condominium unit have a pet?

It depends.

To find out whether pets are allowed, check out whether the condo has any rules prohibiting pets or restricting pet size.  You can refer to the Declaration, Rules or Bylaws of the condo corporation for this information. Prohibitions and restrictions placed on pets by a condo corporation are generally valid (in contrast to bans in apartment buildings). See, for example,
this case.

Restrictions usually address the types of pets allowed and size (especially for dogs), as well as the use of leashes, faeces and noise.

Even if your building is "pet friendly" (allows pets) it’s unlikely that you’d be able to keep a pet for long if it creates too much of a disturbance for other occupants. In many cases, the Declaration, Rules and Bylaws in a pet friendly condo will address pets that create a nuisance. For example, the rules might say something like this:

"No owner or occupant of any residential unit shall maintain, keep or shelter any animal, livestock or fowl therein
other than a household pet as herein defined For the purpose of this restriction upon the use and occupation of residential units, the term “household pet” shall mean a caged bird, aquarium fish, one (1) domestic cat or one (1) dog not exceeding forty (40) pounds in weight with the sole exception of a guide dog within the meaning of the Blind Person's Rights Act (Ontario) which guide dog may exceed such weight limit, and unless any such household pet becomes a nuisance and causes unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment by owners of other residential units and the common elements, in which event the Corporation may require the pet owner to permanently remove such pet from the property upon two (2) weeks written notice." (emphasis added)

Put simply, pet owners should refer to the Declaration, Rules and Bylaws to determine whether pets are allows. If you’re a tenant, your landlord would probably have a copy of these documents, or you can get them from the property management office.

What do I do if another occupant’s pet is disturbing me?

If the owner isn’t cooperative, keep detailed notes of any disturbances from the pet. If the condo has a security guard, have them record incidents of excessive noise, etc.

Refer to the Declaration, Rules and Bylaws to find out if pets are allowed or whether there are any restrictions. If pets aren’t allowed, you’ll have a pretty clear case. Even if pets are allowed, the fact that the pet is disturbing your quiet enjoyment of your unit could be cause for action.

The condo’s Board of Directors is responsible for upholding the Declaration, Rules and Bylaws. Find out who sits on the Board and take your complaint to them and the property manager (or have your landlord do so if you’re a tenant). Try getting in touch with the occupants who live above or beside the pet owner and work together with them.

If you have problems with the Board, you will probably have to push back to have them enforce the rules. Again, the Board is responsible for upholding the condo's rules so check the Declaration, Rules and Bylaws first.

It’s also worth noting that the Board might have created rules prohibiting or restricting pets at a certain point in time and that any pets that lived in the building prior to the rule change could have been allowed to stay.

If you’re a tenant, another avenue for addressing noisy pets would be your lease. You're paying rent and are entitled to quiet enjoyment of your unit. Speak to a
tenant rights organization to find out what you can do. 

The City of Toronto also has a municipal
bylaw regarding noise that you might want to consult in addition to the above options.

contact us for more information.