If you are a pet owner and are planning to move into a condo, it’s best to check whether Fido can move in with you, too.
The condominium corporation’s bylaws or declaration or rules will stipulate whether pets are permitted and, if so, what kind (whether goldfishes, dogs, birds, cats, etc.), how many, and other restrictions. While your realtor may have some insight into the pet restrictions in your new condo, inquire yourself or have your lawyer check into it, just to be completely sure.
Just as in life, exceptions can be made to the rules. If the owners of 80 per cent of the units consent in writing to amend the bylaw and the condo board supports the change, then you may be able to have Fido move in after all.
According to the Condominium Act 1998, condo boards may pass rules that condo owners must follow, as long as they are reasonable and abide by the Ontario Human Rights Code. In the past, courts have determined that issuing a blanket ‘No Pets’ rule is unreasonable and unenforceable because it’s too vague. Service dogs, such as those trained to help people with physical or mental disabilities, are exempt from pet bans. Residents must be sure to have the proper medical documentation to support this claim.
Those condominium corporations that enforce their no-pets rules to the letter, with no history of making exceptions to other unit owners, typically win court cases. Those condo boards that are lax or haphazard in enforcing their no-pets rules may find themselves on shakier territory.
Either way, at this point the final decision will rest with a judge. So if you are a pet owner or are considering getting a pet once you become a homeowner, just make sure the condo you intend to buy allows for pets, present and future.