Toronto’s rental market is one of the most competitive in the country, so it can be a real downer when you find a listing you want to view but the landlord has a no-pet policy.
However, is this legal?
Yes and no.
In Ontario, it is illegal to include a ‘no pets’ provision in a lease agreement, as per the Residential Tenancies Act, unless the property is a condominium and the corporation’s declaration prohibits pets. (An exception to this rule involves person’s with disabilities; for example, a seeing-eye dog is needed for the blind).
But while a ‘no pets’ provision is unenforceable, a landlord can refuse to rent to a person who has a pet.
Should you get a pet after you’ve signed a lease agreement and moved in, the landlord cannot evict you. The same goes for if the landlord was unaware you had one (or more) before the tenancy began. A tenant can only be evicted if a pet is troublesome. For instance, the animal is disruptive (makes too much noise), damages the unit, causes allergies in others or is dangerous. But before kicking people and pets out, the landlord must first apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for an order terminating the tenancy.
In circumstances where pets are allowed, the landlord cannot ask for a pet deposit. However, if one is offered (and accepted) to secure the unit, the tenant can’t renege on this agreement.
When renting a unit in a condo where pets are allowed, it’s important to find out if there are any restrictions before signing the lease agreement. Otherwise, you may be forced to get rid your furry friend if in contravention of the rules. Typically, restrictions relate to the type of per permitted, number of pets (usually one or two per suite), and their size and weight, though there may be other rules. For instance, dogs must be on a leash at all times or pets must be carried in hallways and lobbies. Your Realtor can (and should) find out about any pet restrictions before you move forward with an offer to lease.