Can a Landlord Refuse to Rent A Unit to Me Just Because I Have a Cat?

Generally, a Tenant Is Allowed to Have Pets. If An Apartment Is Governed By the Registered Tenancies Act, 2006, Then a Tenant Is Permitted to Have Pets Subject to Very Few Exceptions. Also, Do Note That a Landlord Is Allowed to Ask About Pets.

A Helpful Guide For How to Determine and Understand Whether a Pet Ban Is Legal and Enforceable

Residential Lease Agreement

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.

Exceptions

However, and regardless of the section 14 provision within the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 voiding a pet ban, exceptions are possible in a few specific situations. The possible exceptions that may be available that would allow for a valid pet ban are provided in section 76 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 which says:

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.

(3) The Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant relying on clause (1) (b) if it is satisfied that the animal kept by the tenant did not cause or contribute to the allergic reaction.

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.

Summary Comment

A clause within a lease stating that a residential tenancy shall be without pets is void; however, there are exceptions whereas if the pet presents as a safety hazard or is substantially interfering in the reasonable enjoyment of others living within the residential complex, a landlord may apply to the Landlord Tenant Board for an Order that would, essentially, set aside the 'no pets' restriction and thereby ban a pet.


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