Is It Legal For a Landlords to Say No Pets?
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.
A lease clause purporting as a pet ban is unlawful and nullified for being contrary to section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 17 (the "RTA"), which explicitly states that a pet ban is void. Accordingly, and despite that a tenant may have signed a lease containing such a clause, a 'pet ban' is generally unlawful and 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.
With the above said regarding the s. 14 provision within the RTA 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 s. 76 of the RTA 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.
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.
Generally, where a tenancy is governed by the RTA and a lease clause purports as a pet ban, such a clause is void and unenforceable. Some exceptions do exist. The possible exceptions include specific situations where a pet is shown as posing a safety risks such as a demonstrably dangerous dog, or where the pet is shown as substantially disruptive to others due to prolonged excessive barking or other interference to the living conditions and reasonable enjoyment of others. Allergy issues may also be a genuine concern. To obtain an Order granting an exception, a landlord must apply to the Landlord Tenant Board.