Does a Tenant Have a Right to Have a Cat?

While a Landlord Is Allowed to Ask About Pets When Interviewing Potential Tenants, It Is, Generally, Unlawful For a Landlord to Ban a Tenant From Having Pets. There Are a Few Exceptions Such When a Pet Poses Safety Risks or Interferes With Others.

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

However, and regardless of the section 14 provision within the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 voiding a pet ban, exceptions are possible in a few specific situations. The possible exceptions that may be available that would allow for a valid pet ban are provided 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.

Accordingly, if a pet is causing damage to the property, or disruption and interference to others, a 'no pets' condition may be permitted.  Additionally, if a municipal bylaw or other authority forbids the presence of pets, or if the tenancy is within a condominium corporation where the Condominium Declarations forbid the presence of pets, such may, and likely does, over rule the 'no pets' provision and the landlord may, and likely will, be successful in banning a pet.

Summary Comment

In circumstances where a lease governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 contains a clause banning a tenant from owning a pet, such a clause is, generally, void and unenforceable with some exceptions. The exceptions involve a pet that poses safety risks, such as a demonstrably dangerous dog, or where the pet is substantially interfering with the reasonable enjoyment or living conditions of others residing within the residential complex, such as excessive dog barking, pets causing allergy issues, among some limited other things. Where the exceptions may apply, a landlord may bring an Application to the Landlord Tenant Board seeking an Order allowing a ban on the troublesome pet.


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