Does a condo renter have more rights than an condo owner when it comes to pets?

 dog in condo building

The Residential and Tenancies Act, 2006 (RTA) is the governing legislation that applies to landlords and tenants in the province of Ontario.  It provides that “[a] provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.”, while at the same time, a landlord cannot prevent a tenant from having a pet.  Condominium Boards that find a tenant’s pet to be a nuisance can have that pet evicted.

Although the RTA specifically prevents the prohibition of pets in a residential lease, this legislation does not supersede the Condominium Act. If the Corporation’s governing documents have a blanket prohibition against pets or if they prohibit a specific pet-related behaviour, then such restrictions must apply equally to both owners and tenants.

Pursuant to section 119 of the Condominium Act, 1998, both owners and occupiers of a unit must comply with the Condominium Act as well as the Corporation’s Declaration, By-laws and Rules. If an owner or a tenant does not comply with the Condominium Act, the Corporation (or another unit owner or occupier of a unit) can make an application to the Superior Court of Justice for an order enforcing compliance.  This is done under section 134 of the Condominium Act, 1998.

If a Board of Directors relies on the Corporation’s declaration to deem a pet a nuisance, the Corporation has the authority to have the pet evicted, whether the pet belongs to an owner, a tenant or even to a visitor. Even in the absence of a tenancy agreement failing to specifically prohibit pets, a Condominium Corporation can successfully enforce compliance, whether the restriction is pet-related or otherwise. The Corporation would likely commence the mediation and arbitration process with the owner, pursuant to the Condominium Act and their governing documents, and then proceed to court against the owner, whose responsibility would be to enforce any court orders against his/her tenant.

It is incumbent for tenants who intend to rent a condominium unit to review that Corporation’s governing documents to ensure they comply with them, and for owners wishing to rent their unit is to ensure that they convey to their tenants-to-be what is expected of them and of their pets.