Pets Can’t Be Banned In Rental Units

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Ontario is introducing a new, simple standard lease that will be mandatory for private residential leases signed on or after April 30, 2018, including tenancies in single and semi-detached houses, apartment buildings, rented condominiums and secondary units (such as basement apartments).

Currently there is no standardized form for rental agreements between landlords and tenants in Ontario. The new lease form is written in easy-to-understand language and is templated to capture basic information such as names and addresses, the total rent and when it’s due, and any rules or terms about the rental unit or building. It also outlines the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords, and explains what can (and cannot) be included in a lease. For example, landlords cannot ban guests or pets.

Strengthening tenant protections is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

74 COMMENTS

  1. I think the focus should be on not allowing landlords to refuse to rent full homes where other tenants are not a consideration. A condo or multi-unit building is a different storey, the board sets guidelines and the owner can be financially penalized for bylaw infractions. There are pet free and adult only condos so if renting from a place with those types of policies in place clearly stating that when looking for a new tenant will save both parties a head ache. That being said, I am a single working professional with 2 cats & 1 small quite dog. When last looking for a new house to rent I was unable to find one that didn’t state no pets. It took me several months to find a pet friendly apartment in which I had to get approval of my pets and paid rent and fees which amounted to more than what renting a house would have cost. So something does need to be done about pets as part of landlord & tenant agreements as not everyone can afford to be financially penalized by landlords regardless of the fact they are a responsible pet owner. I agree with requiring an additional pet damage deposit (even a non-refundable portion for cleaning between tenants), but think the addition of a monthly pet rent on a per pet basis my last apartment charged was clearly a way landlords were using the fact they would even allow pets as a personal financial gain. It’s unfair to tenants to be charged additional monthly fees per pet, but rental companies and landlords see a way make free money though allowing pets. This is what needs to change, as landlords would not be able to charge you additional monthly rent because you had a child living with you, so how is a pet any different. Stipulations in the lease agreement should be to make it fair to both the landlord & tenant, not to allow landlords to exploit responsible pet owners though charging rediculous rent for even allowing a pet. I would have been happy to rent a full house to myself and would have paid additional damage deposits for cleaning even with a non-refundable portion, than to pay more for a tiny apartment in rent, pet rent, and other fees because I couldn’t find a single landlord renting a house that would allow pets. The rediculous treatment of any pet owner is what needs to change, irresponsible pet owners I completely agree should be charged for any damages and even penalties for complaints received; but simply profiting off the fact that tenants own a pet or forcing them to get rid of a pet because they can no longer find a rental in their price range is an unfair financial advantage landlords shouldn’t have in the rental market.

  2. All these landlords saying they don’t want to rent because the tenants have all the rights. “Threatening” to not rent… Being a landlord is a business and a job. Your tenants are your customers. Renting isn’t about you, it’s about providing a service and getting paid for it. They are renting ownership from you. Like any other rental service, you don’t get to decide how they use it, you can only suggest and have financial penalties for damages.

    On the one hand, yes it seems unfair, but if you look at it as the business transaction it is: you get x amount of money for x amount of hours of service. In most cases you’ll do maybe a couple days cleaning, and an hour or two repairs/month throughout the lease. There are extreme examples where people are scum and you need to go after them in court. There are examples like myself as a tenant where I did the move in cleaning, my landlord patched 2 holes left by the previous tenant, and he doesn’t hear from me unless there’s an issue with the downstairs tenant. In most cases rentals are thousands of dollars pure profit, having to invest a bit of time, or reinvesting a bit between tenants to pay someone else to clean really isn’t too much to expect. No one hands you free money.

  3. it is already illegal to demand no pets, but, that said, in this market landlords have plenty of tenants to choose from that don’t have pets. I am a mature, reasonable person who happens to have pets. If I was told the other tenants had allergies and they were able to document that, I would like to believe I would be reasonable enough to look elsewhere. I live with 2 cats and a small dog in an apartment at the moment. I have lived here for 20 years and my animals are quiet, well behaved and I work my butt off to keep them and the apartment clean. I have a good relationship with my landlord and once, when my dog, as a puppy, chewed on the bottom of the door, I told him and replaced the door myself. The fact of the matter is that those things happen sometime with animals and you have to be responsible and step up to take care of it. People who have pets are NOT dirty or irresponsible and should not be judged as such. Also, it worries me to see landlords and tenants, 2 sets of people who should have a cooperative relationship, being so oppositonal. Isn’t it in the best interests of the rental market that they have a working and respectful one?

    • Sorry Beth, but you are wrong. Landlords have the right to reject tenants if they suspect they will move in with pets. Landlords are free to screen and investigate whether or not their prospective tenants have pets. However, once a landlord accepts a tenant, in spite of any verbal agreements or contract stipulations, landlords cannot evict tenants for pet ownership under most circumstances.

      As stated in section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act “A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.” This means once a tenant signs a contract with a landlord, despite any provisions that limit pet ownership or promises made to the landlord, a landlord is powerless to enforce any provisions regarding pet ownership.

      However, this right is limited and certain conditions exist where landlords possess the right to evict tenants with troublesome pets. If a pet is dangerous, disturbs neighbours, or causes damage to property, landlords can evict the tenant.

      The most common pet complaint is in regards to allergies. If another tenant suffers severe allergies and is affected by a pet, the owner must find a way to ensure that their fellow tenant is not disturbed, or face the risk of eviction.

      In order for a landlord to take action, the landlord first must bring the issue to the attention of the tenant and the tenant has the ability to mitigate the issue. If there is damage done to the property, the tenant can opt to repair the damage. If the animal is disturbing neighbours, the tenant might prevent the animal from being outside and limit its exposure to neighbours, if the animal is upsetting a fellow tenant’s allergies due to fur contaminating the communal laundry machine, the pet owner can do their laundry elsewhere.

  4. I have a 2nd floor rental unit. It is fully furnished, sofas, rugs, drapes, dishes, bedding etc. So it is not just the floors getting peed on but furniture being scratched to pieces and embedded with pet hairs. not to mention the grooves in the door from the last dog scratching. I think furnished apts should not be included in this legislation.
    I have only been a landlord for 5 years after 50 of being a tenant and I’m already sick of it. It took 3 hours to completely clean the bathroom after the last tenant with cats. All the floor grout had to be scrubbed to get rid of the smell. And several pieces of furniture had to be replaced. Not to mention that I got them out still owing me over $2,300. Several people said I got off cheap.

      • I agree with you. I believe there are many many pet owners out there that really do take care of them, they are trained, well cared for etc. Then there is so many people that unfortunately do not take care of their pets or the places that they live in. If I were you i’d start asking for a security deposit when they move in.

    • how bout you sell your income generating property you been funneling into your bank account and shutting up, it’s landlords like you who- want to make money and then kick someone out and then make more money

    • if you’re apartment is furnished you may just want to have a clause that states the tenant will pay for or replace anything damaged.

    • I have a dog small one .. she has done damage but i owned the house.. now she is old.. i sold my home and went looking for an apartment .. 5 out of the six apartments i saw were full of cat urine.. they replaced the living room but would not replace the bedrooms .. the smell was unreal ..as i have an animal they would not replace the flooring in the other units i saw.. Only one unit the one i rented had no carpets and no problem with animals.. animals cost landlord money. there should be a deposit for every unit because most tenants will not cover the damage ..covering the cost of a full unit of carpet is very expensive ..so a damage deposit would still not cover the cost..so the landlords will lose or they will not change the carpet like the units i went to see..thank god i found this one ..i have no intentions of getting another animal when my dog is gone.. not am i willing to move .. finding this was was a blessing ..i have all ways looked after my home ,so if my dog did damage anything i would be more than willing to cover the cost…

  5. I own the house…. my house I paid for it….. my rules…. if I don’t want pets or smokers that’s my choice go rent somewhere else if u don’t like my rules…. I don’t give a shit what the gov says it is MY Property…. mine not there’s not yours but mine

    • I would prefer you to not rent your unit with that attitude, to reduce competition among responsible and law abiding property owners. In general, I don’t rent from private owners anyway, because I worry about getting somebody like you.

      As a renter, I am a responsible and law abiding human being. I can provide references, a good credit score, a decade of consistent employment history, and income in exchange for taking care of and living in your unit. I expect you as a property owner to also abide by the rules in good faith. Please consider getting income from elsewhere.

      Also this has already been a law for many years, this is just making the situation more clear. It was also your responsibility as a property owner to have been aware of that, when you made the decision to rent out your property.

    • Jim has all the right in the world to screen potential renters, maybe not legally but I would do the same. I worked in the telephone industry and was in thousands of rental houses and apts. Some places (not many) I refused to return to because of the stench and my health concerns. I don’t have any rental property but had to help maintain my grandfathers rental properties after he passed and I can tell you from experience that most renters are responsible but the bad eggs give the whole rental industry a black eye. One person commented that renting is pure profit. Obviously not a educated person. In regard to the upcoming non-refusal law because of owning pets, I would specify no pet over one pound and let them take me to court!!! I know a lot of people will go ballistic over that comment but such is life.

    • When you start renting you are operating a business. An employer cannot express racial discrimination in hiring, neither can you. If you want to keep your home under your own personal and private controls it’s best you don’t rent out for profit, obviously you don’t understand the basics of running a business.

  6. As someone with a fully finished basement and a terrible pet allergy this is, in my opinion, terrible legislation. My basement was built to house a tenant and now I feel that my health is put in jeopardy by this and the money spent preparing the basement is now lost.

    • That’s why the furnace has a filter on it it takes out the allergens from the air so it doesn’t bother people with allergies I don’t seem to have a problem with it and I have very bad allergies and I live with two dogs and two cats

    • I’m sure the homeless and the people that can’t afford to even rent are crying for you Johann. Buy some allergy meds. with part of the rent money. You whiny ^%$#@#$%^.

      • Your just plain ignorant, for people who are severely allergic and asthmatic meds do not help and neither do filters, stop cursing at people shows your i.q. is your shoe size

  7. As a landlord working for a large company that owns many properties, I know this will change nothing as it was already illegal to not allow pets. So going forward this is only going to affect private owners looking to rent out a basement or house. So, you will be discriminated against, likely unknowingly based on pet hair on your clothes, smell of animals on you or they will ask you if you have a pet and then reject you saying someone already had an application on the unit or some other common excuse. This will do nothing to help and only cause more Tribunal hearings. Meanwhile I’ll keep working excessive hours for very little pay, because in this business, the large companies hiring superintendents and building managers can get away with not even paying minimum wage because we don’t fall under the regular employment laws and often work Mon-Fri and every other weekend as well as on call emergencies. Please government fix this problem…not holding my breath.

  8. Landlords are not allowed to refuse a pet in their rentals, however during the application process to find a tenant they can and many will go through the applications and if they do not want pets in the house, choose an applicant who might not have one. Of course this can lead to people not being honest and upfront in their application when asked if they own pets in order to be chosen. Not a great scenario for sure as it means the tenant is dishonest from the start and there might be a trust issue. Pets can be incredibly destructive in a home, including wear and tear on floors, urine soaked flooring, cat litter box smells than permeate the house long after the cats leave, fleas which linger after tenant leaves, chewed mouldings and baseboards, scratches on doors, etc. A landlord can only hope that the tenant they choose is responsible enough to have a trained animal who does not do damage, who will keep litter boxes spotless, and who will repair or pay to repair any damages. Unfortunately everyone suffers when a landlord has issues and added expenses… whether it be from pets, smoking in the house, willful damage, etc. Rents go up to cover expenses, andlords decide that being a landlord is not very much fun and rather expensive and sell their properties, rentals become hard to come by, prices rise due to demand, vicious circle. It only takes a few bad experiences on both sides (landlord and tenant) to sour the pot!

  9. Its about time Ontario. This no pet law has been around for YEARS and no one seemed to care. Hopefully with the new simplified lease landlords will stop illegaly deamnding no pets.

    • Its still not gonna help .they can simply just toss ur application out and choose someone without pets and not tell u the reason why they wont rent to u . For the first time in years this year u was turned down by 8 places. I was honest for half of those cuz i was curious if it was the pet issue or the fact im on maternity leave . I have suffeient income for a place while working and when on maternity leave j still have enough income . I simply even asked why i was turned down they gave me no reason just someone suited better. I made sure i handed apps back same day or next day oh and i also have good credit . Not to meation i wanted into a co op town house which refuses dogs and if they find out u have one ur voted out .

  10. I am a responsible pet owner. When we went to rent a new place, the ad also had NOT PET FRIENDLY. The new landlord we were dealing with made a visit to where we were currently living, unannounced. I had no problem letting him in to see my home and meet our dog Shilo. He stayed for quite awhile, asked to see the yard, etc. Before he left that night, he pulled out the lease, and scratched off NO PETS. He came numerous times while we lived in his house and he loved our dog. I was a superintendent for 8 yrs, and sometimes humans can do more damage then a pet. I didn’t have to let him in that night, but I had nothing to hide. Rents are out of control, perhaps landlords need to spend more time deciding who they rent to.

    • See i wouldnt mind a possible landlord comming and checking out my current place. U cant hide dirtiness people who are filthy there house tends to stink and it lingers . I wish more landlords did that .i think how u take care of ur place can show a landlord u take care of ur unit.

  11. I agree with Carly. Why in hell would anyone want to have rental property when the tenants have all the rights. I get there are slum lords out there and ones that blatantly disrespect and discriminate. If I own the property, I would think I should have the choice of allowing or not allowing smoking and pets. People have talked about the crap left about but no one addressed the barking dogs who never shut up. Have I as a co-tenant not have the right to peace and quiet within my four walls? Would you not complain if I played my music loud enough to disturb your home comfort, would you not be pissed? I would think that people looking to rent would go to pet and smoking allowed buildings. Oh wait there will be none available because landlords got fed up with inconsiderate tenants who ruined it for respectful pet owners and smokers and sold off their properties.

  12. Yay. I have a cat and dog I’m a homeowner but may have to rent once we sell the house. I don’t want to be discriminated and turned away because I have pets that I love dearly. I shouldn’t have to rehome my animals becaise of other ppls stupidity

    • So it’s stupid that I want to avoid the hospitalization my son would suffer after just 24 hours of being in the same house with your cat? …In hospital, on oxygen, struggling to breathe with heavy additional medication and steroids being given hourly? His allergies to cats are life-threatening. Before we realized the severity of his allergies, we once took care of a friend’s dog for just 48 hours and ultimately after multiple hospitalizations and 3 doses of Dexamethazone had to MOVE OUT for 2 weeks while the entire house was washed, vacuumed, aired out with fans and filters changed. We have an affordable housing crisis and would be happy to install a quality basement apartment in our new build for a great tenant, but because of this ignorant carte blanche rule about pets, we can’t take the risk to our children’s health and won’t be able to rent to anyone. #LegislationGoalsBackfired

  13. too bad..dont blame the the dogs blame the owners, dog pees in front of doorways, owner doesnt pick up poop, and some dogs dont make it to the door and pee in the hallways, and then they also bark..yup.this place has gone to the dogs..

  14. iam a super in a townhouse complex we allow animails in our complex if i see someone not picking up after their animails i let them no i do not pick up after other peoples animails and i wont i will tell that person to pick it up i dont get paid enough to gather animals shit when the owner cant pick it up they shouldnt have animals and now i see why the owners ask for a cleaning deposit cause if the units are left with animal shit all over it sure is worth the deposit to have to go in and clean up after the people that dont no how to clean up after the animals good luck to all the landlords out there

      • agree!

        Not picking on you Shirley, but you lose your opportunity to influence if it’s difficult to read your post … I know it’s easier on a mobile device to skip that, but please don’t 🙂

  15. As someone who is deathly allergic to cats and significantly allergic to dogs let’s hope that they do make this exception.

    As for the single person rule, let’s see how that works out with basement apartments where it is usually an ‘all inclusive rent’. The laundry drier, lights, heating hot water can add up quite a bit when it’s 2 people instead of one. I’m assuming there will be no problem increasing the rent then?

  16. What an odd headline. Landlords presently cannot ban pets arbitrarily, except under specific and reasonable circumstances (allergies, in most cases). This announcement has more to do with the development of a standardized lease agreement that also includes the explanation of regulations, which is fantastic!

    • They currently can’t do it from a legally enforceable standpoint but plenty of landlords rely on the fact that most tenants don’t know their rights when it comes to having pets, and do it anyway.

    • We changed the headline on our website actually, but the change doesn’t follow through to Facebook. This has been the law for years, but check out listings for rentals in town, and many say no pets allowed. And sadly renters don’t know that it is not legal, and give up their pets when they didn’t have to do that.

  17. I think they have to make sure that they are spayed or neutered,clean up after them and make sure they fix what their pets destroyed and hopefully there be less abandoned animals!!!!

  18. And there are plenty of people without pets who are hardly clean and well behaved. You assume people who have pets are so irresponsible that they are going to leave waste out on the lawn? Then believe me, even if they didn’t have pets, their living area is guaranteed disgusting.

  19. ….and who is going to make sure that people clean up outside after their pets ? Can we fine them? Make them pay for the clean up? Yeah, no; that would be the landlord picking up and disposing of all the crap…and who is going to make sure that the litter box doesn’t stink up the whole building? And what about people who are allergic to pet dander and pet hair? Don’t they count? I’ve known a lot of people who swear that their pets are well-behaved and clean, but their definitions of clean and well-behaved differ wildly from mine.

      • No she just a landlord probably. I have had tenants who swore they cleaned up after their pets and they never did. Cost me $700.00 to fix what the dogs ate and shit on.

        • It’s all bullsh*t. I deal with these pig tenants every day. They are all bums. Can’t look after themselves let alone pets.

          • And your a racist, treating everyone and labelling them as pigs…you as a landlord get to choose who gets in…maybe you should find another job

    • ….and who is going to make sure that people clean up outside after their kids ? Can we fine them? Make them pay for the clean up? Yeah, no; that would be the landlord picking up and disposing of all the crap…and who is going to make sure that the smokers doesn’t stink up the whole building? And what about people who are allergic to smoke or parfumes? Don’t they count? I’ve known a lot of people who swear that their families are well-behaved and clean, but their definitions of clean and well-behaved differ wildly from mine.

    • Lol theres people that have ALOT OF CATS . Cats and dogs . Rabbits . And they r clean . You are probably just upnose. I have many cats and my god they r clean and my home does not stink of cat litter lolololol . Some peoole actually suck at taking care of their animals . But some dont so dont judge every person with pets .

  20. Its about time 99.9 percent of people stopped bending backwards and paying exorbitant rent to adapt for the small percentage of the population like you, why should everyone pay so you can exist without extra cost? Sucks, but it’s about damned time. Fix your #### if you can’t find your own place, or handle your own allergies. clean your vents, suck it up. It’s not all about you.

      • It has always been in effect. It’s always been illegal for landlords in Ontario to ban pets. It seems not many people are aware of this. This article is saying there will be a new, standardized lease which will state this fact.

        • Again, Landlords have the right to reject tenants if they suspect they will move in with pets. Landlords are free to screen and investigate whether or not their prospective tenants have pets. However, once a landlord accepts a tenant, in spite of any verbal agreements or contract stipulations, landlords cannot evict tenants for pet ownership under most circumstances.

          As stated in section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act “A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.” This means once a tenant signs a contract with a landlord, despite any provisions that limit pet ownership or promises made to the landlord, a landlord is powerless to enforce any provisions regarding pet ownership.

          However, this right is limited and certain conditions exist where landlords possess the right to evict tenants with troublesome pets. If a pet is dangerous, disturbs neighbours, or causes damage to property, landlords can evict the tenant.

          The most common pet complaint is in regards to allergies. If another tenant suffers severe allergies and is affected by a pet, the owner must find a way to ensure that their fellow tenant is not disturbed, or face the risk of eviction.

          In order for a landlord to take action, the landlord first must bring the issue to the attention of the tenant and the tenant has the ability to mitigate the issue. If there is damage done to the property, the tenant can opt to repair the damage. If the animal is disturbing neighbours, the tenant might prevent the animal from being outside and limit its exposure to neighbours, if the animal is upsetting a fellow tenant’s allergies due to fur contaminating the communal laundry machine, the pet owner can do their laundry elsewhere.

    • Courtney Lynn it is currently in effect and has been for over a decade now (article from 2011: https://www.thestar.com/business/real_estate/2011/01/21/why_a_nopet_rental_clause_is_unenforceable.html). This new move by the government is to [finally] have a standard form which makes it legal terms completely clear. This news is a clarification of existing laws rather than new laws. Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act voids any provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals. You may find this law here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06r17#BK17 ☺️

    • Allergies can be controlled with medication, yes. Medications cost money and can have side effects, though. I don’t think this new standardized form changes the allergy exception for landlords. I could be wrong.

    • In basement rentals they cannot be controlled as both units are sharing the same HVAC unit which includes Ducting and Air Returns.

    • Pets are cleaner then people. If you have allergies there are plenty of PET FREE buildings you can choose from.

      • I think this new legislation means there will no longer be any PET FREE buildings. I think it’s unfair to ask homeowners who rent their single house or their basement or even an upstairs apartment in their duplex to have to comply with this rule. Don’t be surprised, but basically, what this means is that a lot of homeowners will no longer rent units in their homes leading to less available apartments. Just watch the rents go up.

        • This is already the rule though. There are exceptions for homeowners who have allergoes and are renting out their basements.

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