Navigating Pet Issues: A Guide for Ontario Landlords

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May 6, 2024

In the realm of renting and pet ownership in Ontario, misinformation often clouds the realities, making it challenging for landlords to discern the facts from the myths. While it's true that Ontario landlords retain the right to refuse tenants with pets, once a lease is signed, they cannot evict tenants solely based on pet ownership.

However, this doesn't grant pet owners immunity from pet-related eviction. Legal grounds for eviction may arise if pets cause property damage or disrupt neighbors and fellow tenants. So, how can Toronto landlords effectively manage issues with pets and tenants who own them within the confines of the law?

Are pets permitted in Ontario rental properties?

Indeed, once a rental agreement is inked, tenants in Ontario are legally allowed to have pets. While landlords may decline applicants with pets during the screening process, this prerogative diminishes once the lease is signed. Some landlords include a "no pets" clause in agreements, but its enforceability weakens post-signature. Notably, Toronto landlords cannot legally demand a pet deposit; only last month's rent and a refundable key deposit are permissible.

Condominium regulations regarding pet ownership differ. Any established rules regarding pets within a condo must be strictly adhered to by all signatories. Breach of these regulations can lead to eviction by the condo board or imposition of fines.

Under what circumstances can pet-owning tenants be evicted?

Contrary to common belief, pet owners aren't exempt from eviction. Landlords maintain the right to evict tenants with pets if the animals cause significant property damage, disrupt neighbors, violate municipal bylaws regarding pet limits, or pose a danger. Failure to clean up after pets can also warrant eviction, as it may lead to property damage or infringe upon other tenants' enjoyment of the premises.

How should landlords address problematic pets?

Eviction should be a last resort for landlords facing issues with pets. Initial steps should involve collaborative problem-solving with the tenant. Documenting all communication and attempted resolutions is crucial. If these efforts prove futile, eviction may become necessary.

Landlords can legally evict tenants with pets for various reasons, including property damage, neighbor disturbances, non-compliance with pet-related bylaws, or if the pet poses a safety risk. Proper documentation, including evidence of damage and communication attempts, strengthens the landlord's case during eviction proceedings at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

Facing pet-related challenges can be daunting for landlords. Engaging the services of an experienced Toronto property manager is invaluable. These professionals excel in tenant screening, flagging potential issues early on, and mitigating disputes with pet-owning tenants, saving landlords from protracted conflicts and headaches.