Pets in Condos – Know the rules!

A lot of condos have rules against pets, or rules that restrict the size of pets, or rules about how one has to control their pets. And sometimes, because in most rental situations, renters can’t be prevented from having pets because of human rights laws, people assume that the condo rules restricting pets don’t apply to rentals. And they’d be wrong.

card 3 big dog little dog

Condos are little dictatorships, in a sense. A condo board, as long as it complies with the Condominium Act, can apply any rules it wants. And that means a “no pet” restriction, or a weight restriction on pets applies to everyone.

A Toronto woman found out the hard way recently when she challenged a condo board ruling that said she had to remove her dog, “Peaches,” in court. Peaches weighed 40 lbs. The condo restricted pets to 25 lbs and under. The owner argued she needed Peaches as a disability dog, and that the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights laws should apply, as Peaches helped her deal with stress. The court said the doctor’s letter was vague and the condo corporation’s rules were clear. Not only does she have to remove Peaches but she got stuck with paying $ 47,000 in legal costs to the other side.

By the way, the court also said that the condo rules didn’t prevent the owner from having a “guide” dog, just one that weighed more than 25 lbs. So even if Peaches had been a verifiable therapy animal, Peaches may have had to be removed. That one, I think, would depend on the judge.

So be careful when it comes to pets. Don’t ignore condo rules and think they won’t apply. And don’t assume that because your pet is only a few pounds over the limit, you’re okay. You may not be. You could end up without your pet and out of pocket.

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