Can a landlord evict a tenant for having a pet?

Can a landlord evict a tenant for having a pet?
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Can a landlord evict a tenant for having a pet?

To be short – the answer is not … unless your pet is a tiger.

In the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) there is a section that has a title: “No pet” provisions void (RTA, 2006, c. 17, s. 14). In other words, a provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of pets at the premises is void. Even if you signed a rental agreement with a “no pets” clause, you cannot be evicted just for having a pet if the pet is not a problem for anyone.

The RTA specifies the situations when a tenant can be evicted for having a pet. You can be evicted only if your pet:

  • is making too much noise, damaging the unit, causing an allergic reaction, or
  • is considered to be inherently dangerous.

Moreover, the tenant cannot be evicted unless the Landlord and Tenant Board issues an order stating that the pet is causing a problem, or that the pet is inherently dangerous.

If a “No Pets” clause is written in a rental agreement and the landlord discovers that the tenant has a pet in the rental unit, this is not grounds for the landlord to evict the tenant.

A landlord cannot evict a tenant because they have a pet in violation of a “no pets” clause in the rental agreement. However, a landlord may have grounds to apply to evict a tenant for having a pet, if the pet damages the property or bothers other tenants.

You do not have to move or get rid of the pet unless the Landlord and Tenant Board issues a written order to do so.

The most popular pets are noted for their attractive appearances and their loyalty and playful personalities. Pets give you emotional support, unconditional love and even physical benefits. Walking a dog can supply both a man and a pet with exercise and fresh air. Pets can give companionship to lonely seniors who do not have adequate social interaction with other people.

I’ve read somewhere that there are about 8 million cats and 6 million dogs in Canada. People with dogs describe their pet as a family member. The list of goods, services and places available is enormous: from dog perfumes, couture, furniture and housing, to dog groomers, therapists, trainers and caretakers, dog cafes, spas, parks and beaches, and dog hotels, airlines and cemeteries.

Okay, let’s go back to the issue. There is another frequently asked question:

May a landlord refuse to rent to a person who has pets?

The Residential Tenancies Act does not cover individuals BEFORE they become tenants. It means that if a landlord refuses to rent on the basis of having pets, that person could not apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for this reason because he or she is not a tenant yet.

Once you move in, ensure that your pet is a good tenant, too:

  • Keep the apartment clean: vacuum or sweep up pet’s hair, clean up any messes as soon as they occur.
  • To keep your furniture hair free, spread an easy to clean blanket that you can wash and air regularly.
  • Arrange for your pet its own spot or buy a basket and line it with blankets. Don’t forget to air and clean the bed regularly.
  • Manage your pet’s odors; don’t turn into one of those eccentric pet owners who smell like a barnyard.
  • Remember, dogs generally love walks and tug and fetch toys. Cats enjoy balls, fishing pole toys, and things they can dig their claws into. Pet toys will not only keep your pet healthy, but also keep them from damaging furniture and the rental unit.
  • Find a suitable place for the potty area that is easily accessible and mark it.

Enjoy your pet in your home!

By Carlos Perdomo

Licensed Paralegal

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