Residents fighting back after condo board proposes pet ban
City News
By News Staff
23 August 2016

When one envisions a trendy Torontonian living in one of the city’s flourishing condo communities, the image of a fashionable figure walking a small dog while cradling a tall latte comes to mind.

The latte can stay, but the dog could be gone if a condo board succeeds in painting a new picture of a pet-free life at two CityPlace buildings.

3 Navy Wharf and 5 Mariner Terrace

Some residents at 3 Navy Wharf and 5 Mariner Terrace are barking mad after alleging the board slipped the proposal to ban pets into this year’s budget package.

CityNews reached out to the board president, but he wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Residents already living with pets would be allowed to keep them, but no new pets would be allowed if the proposal comes to fruition. Guide dogs would be an exception.

Condo owners opposed to the ban are now rallying to fight the board’s proposal.

If 15 per cent of owners come forward, a majority-rules vote will take place.

A petition, written by Kirti Shetty, is being circulated on Facebook (below).

In the petition, Shetty calls the proposed changes “draconian” and accuses the board of “sneaking” the change through the budget package.

She also argued that condo owners could lose out financially. “A vast majority of the residents living in downtown Toronto have pets and consider it a major part of their lifestyle,” she wrote.

“This will seriously impact the resale value of our condos as well as rental potential of our units.”

Gary Pieters, president of the CityPlace Residents Association, believes the board hasn’t been transparent enough.

communication is essential

“If you are going to be implementing new rules, communication is essential so that you can hear the concerns of your owner/residents,” he said. “We are all part of a shared community and as a shared community we have to be able to co-exist harmoniously.”

“This is a pet-friendly neighbourhood,” he emphasized.

But Pieters admits there have been complaints, specifically about dog owners not cleaning up after their pets, and sometimes leaving them on balconies unattended. There have also been concerns about wear and tear and dogs being left off their leashes.

“There are issues with some of our pet owners…” he said. “But I also see very loving pet owners in this neighbourhood who really take care of their pets and nurture their pets as an extended part of their family. So I see both sides.”

Real estate lawyer, Bob Aaron, said one of the problems is a large number of condo units are rented, and renters are virtually shut out of the conversation legally.

“Renters have no say in the operation of the condominium,” he said. “They can make noise and let their feelings be known…but they can’t participate in the vote, unless they have a proxy (written permission) from their landlord to vote.”

“The condo owners have the final say,” he added. “If they don’t like the rule…15 per cent can call the meeting and then it’s majority rule.”

There’s also another option.

call a meeting to replace the board

“The other thing the owners can do is…call a meeting to replace the board members and that has happened,” he notes. “If you don’t like the board you can replace them.”

Making matters more complicated—residents at the two buildings say they currently pay for a dog park with a portion of their condo fees, a detail that Aaron called “unfair” should the ban go through.

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Toronto condo owners barking mad over proposed pet ban
Toronto Metro
By: May Warren
24 August 2016

A condo board proposal to ban pets in their buildings has left some CityPlace residents barking mad.

“I think it’s just outrageous,” said dog owner Prasanthy Kudrati, who lives at 3 Navy Wharf Court.

Krudrati said her building and 5 Mariner Terrace are governed by the same condo board, which is proposing a ban on pets.

new residents would be barred from owning dogs or cats

Under the proposed rules, Kudrati said existing owners would be able to keep their animals, but new residents would be barred from owning dogs or cats.

Service animals under 25 pounds would still be permitted, she said.
The president of the condo board did not return Metro’s request for comment Wednesday.

A petition against the ban is currently posted at the concierges

A petition against the ban is currently posted at the concierges for both buildings. If 15 per cent of owners sign the petition, the condo board won’t be allowed to implement the change without a majority vote.

Gary Pieters, president of the CityPlace Residents Association, said he’s not taking sides but called for a “transparent discussion” on the issue.

In dense, vertical neighbourhoods with limited green space, Pieters said tensions between animal owners and other tenants are bound to pop up. He said he’s received complaints about dogs defecating in shared areas and being left unattended on balconies.

may not even be legally enforceable

“But that is not the rule it’s the exception, it’s not an epidemic,” he said.
Condo lawyer Denise Lash said the blanket ban on pets may not even be legally enforceable, as it wasn’t contained in the condos’ original declaration.
It would also leave renters in a tight spot, Lash said.

The Landlord and Tenant Act explicitly states tenants cannot be barred from owning pets, but Lash said tenants are also obligated to comply with the condo board’s rules.

“Renters really can’t do anything, they have to communicate through their owner,” Lash said.

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Pet ban at 2 CityPlace condo buildings has residents howling

CBC News
With files from Chris Glover and Kate McGillivray

A sign prohibiting pets from going on the grass in the CityPlace complex. Two condo building in the development have moved to ban new pets, in spite of an outcry from some residents.   (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

Two CityPlace buildings have shut the door on any new pets—a move that's not only raised the hackles of some residents, it's also raised questions about whether the condo board actually has the authority to do it.

The condo board responsible for 3 Navy Wharf Ct.and 5 Mariner Terrace passed the ban Thursday, despite an outcry from pet owners who live there.

"It totally crushed me. I was like, 'Why would they even propose this?'" said Stan Liu while walking his dog Max.

the board tried to sneak the ban past owners

Liu believes the board tried to sneak the ban past owners by burying the new rule in a 17-page package with several other mundane changes.

Some residents, like Shirin Dason, moved into one of the buildings specifically because they were dog-friendly.

"We actually only looked at condos that would allow dogs," she said.

Her shih tzu, Olive, is allowed to stay — the rule will only ban new pets from being brought in.

Leading up to the rule change, the condo board wrote to residents, saying it was bringing the ban in after numerous pet-related complaints.

Is it allowed?
Complaints or not, condo and real estate lawyer Gerry Miller said he isn't sure if the condo board's new ban will be enforceable.

He said that it all comes down to the condo building's original rules, called the condo declaration, which was written when the buildings were constructed.

"Let's say you have a declaration that permits one cat and one dog—that's typically what it says—[this new rule] that totally prohibits pets could
very well be unenforceable, provided an owner takes the board of directors
to task for it." 

no prohibitions on pets

In a section of the building's declaration, obtained by the CBC, there were no prohibitions on pets.

Miller said that a declaration can only be changed if 90 per cent of condo owners agree to it, something residents said they were never asked about.

'Everything is in the fine print'
Kirti Shetty is the resident who first noticed the new rule in the 17-page document given to people in the buildings.

"Unlike most people, I work in a bank so I actually read things, because everything's in the fine print," he said.

Shetty says he doesn't think the ban is fair, and made an effort to bring about an owners' meeting where they would vote on it.

Though that effort failed, he said that he thinks any kind of legal action should be their last resort.

He said he wants to do what the condo board didn't, and have a conversation with owners and residents about a compromise.

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Toronto condo board’s pet ban sparks vigorous debate
The Globe and Mail
Julien Gignac
26 August 2016

Condominiums and dogs are inseparable from most street-level views in downtown Toronto. Whether canines are allowed through the front door is another story and, at times, a bone of contention.

The latest incident involving condo residents and their dogs occurred at two CityPlace buildings this week. A five-member condo board at 3 Navy Wharf and 5 Mariner Terrace passed a rule on Thursday that bans pets, with a grandfather clause attached. When the proposal was unveiled earlier this month, a petition – written by a resident of one of the buildings – attempted to drum up opposition, referring to the prospect of a ban as “draconian” and unfair. To quash the proposal, a majority of 15 per cent of owners would have had to vote against.

The issue has exposed one of the more delicate tensions of condo living, leaving dogs in the crossfire.

“It’s one more way to discriminate against animals,” said Nicole Zand, an eight-year condo owner at 3 Navy Wharf, who was walking her pocket-sized Chihuahua through the complex’s dog park – a small, graveled strip tucked away behind one of the buildings. “You can’t let dogs into most places in Toronto already.”

Others believe owning a dog comes with a caveat. Special consideration and responsibility is owed not only to dogs, but neighbours of a condensed housing complex, says Uzo Menakaya, another resident of the same building.

“If your dog is vicious, definitely get it muzzled,” he said. “Sweeping dog [poop] off a balcony, that’s obviously a problem. If you’re going to have a dog, just make sure you’re taking care of your pets.”

Some pet-less residents aren’t perturbed by sharing spaces with dogs – they welcome them, in fact.

“I don’t have an issue with it,” said Jason Jose, from 5 Mariner Terrace, located a stone’s throw from the adjacent condo. “I think it creates a good community to have pets around.”

even if dogs are allowed in a building that could change over time


Unsurprisingly, those eager to experience downtown condo living must shop for a space that accommodates their dogs. This might not seem like a tall order given the surplus of condos to choose from. But even if dogs are allowed in a building that could change over time, says Christopher Jaglowitz, partner at Gardiner Miller Arnold LLP, a law firm with a specialization in condominium law.

Condo boards, made up of at least three elected directors, function at the disposal of the communities they represent – democratic microcosms of sorts. Sitting on the board is a voluntary position and changes tri-annually, and condo units change hands themselves.

With this in mind, a pet ban, Mr. Jaglowitz says, can be justified if a majority of unit owners come forward with complaints.

“It may be that pets are or are not consistent with how that community is set up: how it’s physically laid out, the demographic of the people,” he says. “We do see cases where condo boards are changing. They might phase out having pets in the condominium if people have not taken care of their pets responsibly.

“The largest sources of disputes in condominiums are people, pets and parking,” he added.

Gary Pieters, president of CityPlace Residents’ Association, says there are many pet owners living in both buildings. Over the years, he has heard complaints of dogs being pent-up in condo units soiling carpets and ripping up communal areas. Banning them, he says, has still “amplified tensions between the board and pet owners. People who have pets in 2016 treat them as family members. The decision will likely have implications. A ban on anything involving someone’s home has implications.”

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