WILD: Pet owners must know the rules of co-ownership

Although it is illegal to ban pets in rental properties in Ontario, bans and restrictions are legal in condos if the ban is in the declaration

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Finding a new home for your four-legged friends can be a challenge if you’re looking to buy a condo.

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Some condos allow pets, some allow pets with restrictions, and some don’t allow pets, but navigating the intricacies of a building’s pet restrictions can be tricky.

Although it is illegal to prohibit pets in rental properties in Ontario, prohibitions and restrictions are legal in condominiums if the prohibition is in the Declaration of Condominium, the legal documents that allow for the formation of pets. a condominium association.

Many condos generally prohibit dogs, certain breeds of dogs, stipulate weight restrictions, or prohibit dogs or other pets. These restrictions must be in the declaration and, unlike the bylaws and rules of a condominium corporation, the provisions of the declaration do not have to be reasonable.

For example, one of my clients is a young professional in her early thirties who is looking to buy a condo on her own.

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She also loves big dogs and has every intention of expanding her family with a large breed after recently losing her 6-year-old Mastiff, Denver.

“A lot of people have been working from home since the pandemic, myself included, and having a dog is one of the few things that has kept me sane,” she said.

“The mental health aspect is so important, considering we’ve been told to stay home and not socialize for two years. Having a dog has given me a reason to get up in the morning and go out during the day, which is so important.

She says Denver, a rescue, was a total couch potato, just lounging in her apartment while she went about her day job from home.

After looking through many listings of active condos, she found what she thought was the perfect condo in Guelph. He ticked all the boxes and she was ready to make an offer, but the status certificate needed to be checked to confirm the extent of the restrictions on pets in the building.

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Just before the bid deadline, the certificate was issued and included a large dog breed ban clause.

Here is a sampling of some typical pet restrictions:

  • Weight or height restrictions.
  • Pets judged by the board or manager to be a nuisance, a potential danger to the occupants or breeds prohibited by municipal or provincial laws.
  • It is forbidden to leave pets unattended on terraces, balconies or common areas for exclusive use.
  • Maximum number of pets allowed per unit.
  • A requirement that all pets must be leashed or carried on common elements.

“I was so excited to finally find the perfect place to live and was crushed when we looked at the rules for pet ownership,” she said. .

Currently, to modify a prohibition or restriction of pets in the declaration of co-ownership, the written consent of the owners of 80% of the units must be obtained. Before taking any action, the board should also consider sending a survey to unit owners to determine if there is an appetite for change.

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However, there are two situations where strict enforcement of the provisions of the co-ownership documents is not appropriate: when existing pets are grandfathered in to prevent the company from acting oppressively and the housing a support/therapy animal for a resident with a disability. .

On the other side of the scale, there are also condos that include pet-friendly amenities such as pet grooming areas, off-leash dog runs, and pet care services. company on site.

As a single woman living alone and not knowing what neighborhood she will end up living in, my client said she needed to feel confident walking late at night, to feel safe, and that a big dog is a deterrent.

“I’m a dog lover and annoyed by excessive barking, people not picking up their pets, dogs pouncing on people, and other dogs,” she said. “Behaviour should be managed by owners, but for these condo tips, using broad strokes for every owner just isn’t fair.”

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“If I have a large dog or a small dog, regardless of breed, and if it’s bothersome, it’s up to the owner to tone down the behavior.”

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It’s an understandable frustration. But for pet owners like Melissa, condo rules are often an added restriction in an already tight market due to continued pressure from supply and demand.

There is another side to this question.

Families with children have concerns about large breed dogs and a condo is a community, and not everyone in the community feels comfortable around large pets.

If you are looking for a condo and you have a pet, it is essential that you find out about the rules in the declaration of co-ownership.

– Penelope Wild is the former editor of Homes of the Toronto Sun and a real estate agent at Keller Williams Real Estate Associates.

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