We recently heard an upsetting story from a client about a friend of theirs named Jane who bought a condo, moved in and was prepared for happy home ownership. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, Jane’s agent dropped the ball and neglected to look into the building’s pet restrictions in advance.
Within a few months of moving in, she was informed by the management company that pets were in fact not permitted. Period. After months of increasingly nasty letters from the management company, unwilling to part with her dog, she was forced to sell the condo unit at a loss and move elsewhere.
Unfortunately, we hear stories like this quite often!
Whether you’re renting or buying a property in Toronto, if you have a pet it’s crucial that you do your due diligence in advance as there are different rules when it comes to renting and owning, along with what types of pets you can legally keep in your home.
Here’s our go-to guide for moving with pets:
Pets Rules For Condos
The majority of condo buildings will allow pets. If you’re renting, it’s forbidden for your landlord to prohibit pets unless it’s clearly stated in the condominium corporation documents. That being said, if your pet is considered dangerous, causes damage to the unit, creates excessive noise or triggers an allergic reaction in others, your landlord can apply to terminate your tenancy through the Landlord and Tenant Board.
Although more buildings restrict pets versus prohibiting them all together, these buildings do exist. If you’re renting or buying an MLS property you’ll be able to tell whether pets are forbidden or just restricted in the Pets Permitted section of the listings. If the listing says Restricted or No, start asking questions before you put pen to paper on an offer to lease or purchase. If you’re renting through a site like Craigslist or Kijii make sure to ask the landlord in advance for their pet policy if it’s not stated on their ad.
FAQ: A listing for a condo says pets are ‘restricted’. What does that mean? Many condos have restrictions on number of pets allowed, size and weight (the most common). For example, a building may allow dogs, but only ones weighing 40 pounds or less. This is a very important question to ask your agent – you don’t want to find out that your Bernese Mountain dog isn’t allowed in your building AFTER you’ve purchased!
FAQ: Can a landlord refuse to rent to me if I have a pet? Yes, they can. A landlord is not legally allowed to evict a tenant if they adopt or purchase a pet during their tenancy, but it’s better to be upfront and honest. If you’re planning on moving and intend on getting a pet shortly after, let your landlord know. The last thing you want is to start off your tenancy on a bad foot with the person whom you’re renting from.
FAQ: If the building has pet restrictions will they 100% enforce them? Not necessarily. We often see large dogs in condo buildings that we know technically do not allow dogs of that size so the degree of enforcement varies by the condominium.
But can condo associations ban pets?
Bylaws can be enforced any time so you’ll have to decide whether you’re comfortable moving with pets again if your building all of a sudden decides to enforce their pet restrictions and you have to move as a result.
Pets Rules For Houses
The same landlord rules apply when renting in a house. Landlords might have a pet clause in the lease agreement (these rules are usually more strict when the landlord resides at the same property) but are much more lenient when purchasing.
According to Chapter 349 of the Toronto Municipal Code, “no person should keep more than three dogs in any dwelling unit within the City”. Service dogs are exempted from this rule, and do not count toward the total number of dogs in a household.
However, you can keep up to six cats in any dwelling unit. Yes, six. And of course, there’s a list of prohibited animals which can be found in the Schedule A of this document, which includes cattle, hyenas, armadillos, mongoose, weasels and…kangaroos.
FAQ: I have a ferret. What are the restrictions pets beyond cats and dogs? The same code referenced above states that you can have a rodent up to 1,500 grams if the rodent was “derived from self-sustaining captive populations”, as well as rabbits, ferrets, snakes whose adult length is less than 3 meters, and lizards whose adult length is up to 2 metres.
Most varieties of birds are allowed, with the exception of illegally acquired exotic birds, birds of prey, and pigeons (except licensed racing pigeons).
FAQ: FAQ: My neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking. What are my options? If you’ve already talked to your neighbour and the barking still persists than call 311, give them the address in question and submit a service request for investigation.
Animal Services will contact the dog’s owner to educate them on the noise bylaw, which is Toronto Municipal Code Chapter 591. Keep in mind that the City will need to be satisfied that the noise is in fact excessive and/or persistent in order to satisfy the Courts.
Are you thinking of moving with pets and want a list of the top 5 downtown Toronto dog parks? Click here to read that blog post.
If you’re looking at moving with pets in Toronto (scaly, or feathered), we’re here for you! Just call us at 416-291-7372 or fill out the form below!