Does a Tenant Have a Right to Have a Pet?

A Ban On Pets Is Generally Unlawful. A Lease Clause Purporting As a Pet Ban Is Void. However, In Very Specific Situations a Pet Ban May Be Legal.

A Helpful Guide For How to Determine and Understand Whether a Pet Ban Is Legal and Enforceable

Residential Lease Agreement

When a lease contains a clause disallowing pets, such a clause is unlawful and void as being against section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O.  2006, Chapter 17, whereas such explicitly states that a landlord is unable to ban pets; accordingly, and such applies despite any agreement by the tenant, a 'pet ban' clause is unlawful and therefore unenforceable. The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 very clearly 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.

Per these exceptions, where it may be shown that a pet is damaging property, genuinely posing a safety risk, unreasonably disrupting or interfering with the peaceful living of others, a pet may be banned. It is also possible that a municipal bylaw, or mandate of another applicable level of government, will restrict rights regarding pets or perhaps pets of a certain breed. Furthermore, if a tenant resides in a unit that is part of a condominium corporation, and the condominium corporation bylaws or proper and formal rules ban pet ownership as prescribed within the applicable Condominium Declarations a pet ban may be valid.

Summary Comment

Generally, where a tenancy is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 and a lease clause purports as a pet ban, such a clause is void and unenforceable. Some exceptions do exist. The possible exceptions include specific situations where a pet is shown as posing a safety risks such as a demonstrably dangerous dog, or where the pet is shown as substantially disruptive to others due to prolonged excessive barking or other interference to the living conditions and reasonable enjoyment of others. Allergy issues may also be a genuine concern. To obtain an Order granting an exception, a landlord must apply to the Landlord Tenant Board.


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