Can a Landlord Forbid a Tenant From Having a Pet?
A Clause Within a Lease That Purports As a Pet Ban Is Void. Only In Very Limited and Specific Circumstances May a Pet Ban Be Valid.
A Helpful Guide For How to Determine and Understand Whether a Pet Ban Is Legal and Enforceable
A clause within a lease that disallows pets is unlawful and void for being contrary to section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 17, which forbids a landlord from banning a tenant from owning a pet; and accordingly, even if the tenant previously agreed to the term within a lease, a 'no pets' clause is null and void and unenforceable. The Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 specifically states:
14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.
With the above said regarding the section 14 provision within the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 that voids a pet ban, a few exceptions to this rule do remain depending on specific circumstances. The exceptions that may allow for a pet ban are found in section 76 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 where it is stated:
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.
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.
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.