Can a Landlord Forbid a Tenant From Having a Pet?

A Landlord May Ask a Prospective Tenant About Potential Pets. A Landlord Must Refrain From Imposing a Pet Ban Within a Lease. Only In Rare Cases May a Tenant Be Banned From Owning Pets.

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

As with most rules, there are exceptions.  In respect of where a landlord is, generally per section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, forbidden from banning a tenant from having pets, section 76 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 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.

(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.

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.

Summary Comment

Where a residential tenancy is governed by the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, if a lease includes a pet ban clause, generally, such a clause is void and unenforceable; however, a few exceptions are possible. The possible exceptions include those circumstances where a pet is demonstrably shown as posing safety risks, such as may occur with a dangerous dog breed, or where the pet is demonstrably shown as causing substantial disruption to others living within the residential complex, or possibly even neighbours, by excessive barking or other another form of interference to the living conditions and reasonable enjoyment of others. Additionally, allergy issues may also be demonstrable as a genuine concern. To obtain an Order granting an exception, a landlord must apply to the Landlord Tenant Board.


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