Does a Tenant Have a Right to Have a Pet?
A Landlord May Attempt to Screen Out Tenants With Pets When Initially Reviewing Rental Applications; However, a Lease Clause Containing a Pet Ban Is Void. A Pet Ban Is Only Valid In Very Specific Circumstances.
It is somewhat common that a lease will contain a 'no pets' clause; however, as per section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 17 (the "RTA"), any such provision within a lease agreement is void despite the agreement established between the landlord and tenant; and accordingly, such a clause is unenforceable. Specifically, the RTA states:
“No pet” Provisions Void
14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.
As with most rules, there are exceptions. In respect of where a landlord is, generally per s. 14 of the RTA, forbidden from banning a tenant from having pets, s. 76 of the RTA provides the exceptions whereas it is said:
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.
As per the above exception rules, a pet may be banned if the pet is demonstrated as causing damage to property or causing disruption and interference to others living within the residential complex. Furthermore, where a law, such as a municipal bylaw, or other legal mandate explicitly permits the banning of pets, or where the tenancy is within a condominium corporation that restricts pet ownership as stated within the Condominium Declarations a landlord may be able to ban a pet.
In circumstances where a lease governed by the RTA 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.