Pets in the declaration
& the rules
All regulations about pet ownership in a condo corporation heavily
depends on whether the regulations are in the declaration or in the
rules. Pet restrictions do not belong in the by-laws.
In Ontario rental buildings, it is illegal under the Residential
to prohibit pets. However, it is legal for condos to do so if the
prohibition is in the declaration.
If a condo corporation wants to prohibit dogs, certain breeds of dogs
or all pets, it should do so in the declaration. Unlike
by-laws and rules, the provisions in the declaration do not have to be
To add, change or delete a declaration's wording on pets, 80% of
owners must agree to the proposed changes in writing.
Rules must be reasonable and created for the safety, security and
welfare of the owners and the property. Rules also may be created to
prevent interference with the use and enjoyment of the common
and other private units.
If rules are unreasonable, they are open to court challenge. Requiring
a dog owner to carry their dog while walking through the lobby may be
deemed unreasonable while restricting dogs from entering and leaving
the building through the front lobby and insisting that they use a side
or back door may be reasonable.
Some condo boards have passed rules banning dogs from the corporation's
property. They may be able to do this if the declaration is silent on
pets and all pet restrictions were written in the condo's rules and
Existing dogs are grandfathered but when they die, they
cannot be replaced. The new rules do not ban all pets, perhaps just
& therapy animals
Residents owning a therapy animal may be protected by the Human Rights
Code. Animals that provide emotional support for a person suffering a
mental disorder or depression, along with seeing eye-dogs, hearing-ear
warning of epilepsy attacks and animals that provide assistance to
autistic children come under the Human Rights Code.
A board may want to ask a resident if their pet falls under one of
these categories before it embarrasses itself.
Sleeping on its
A condo board must enforce its declaration and rules
whether or not there has been a complaint.
However, if the board, or previous boards, ignored violations of its
declaration or rules, then it may need to grandfather all existing pets
in the building before starting enforcement.
The grandfathering should be by written agreement and is personal to
the existing owner, not to the unit. When the existing pet dies, the
grandfathering dies with that animal.
Pet disputes become very emotional
It may be best if the status certificate states the condominium's pet
restrictions so that new owners are not taken by surprise when they
show up at their new home to find out that their dog is not allowed to
live on the property.
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