Whether or not pets are allowed in a building is a big deciding factor for some buyers choosing to purchase a condo. However, it’s not uncommon for pet owners to move into “pet restricted” buildings anyway, being completely aware of the risk involved. We always tell our clients that the risk is high, as management will at least enter the unit annually to check the fire alarm. If a pet is discovered, the board may end up taking you to court to have the rules enforced. This is costly and time-consuming for the condo board however, and that alone may deter them from bothering. Despite that, a determined board may go through with it.
What we’ve learned is that the court’s decision will usually depend on whether the condo has a history of actually enforcing their “no pet” rules. If not, the court could rule in the pet owner’s favour. However, the majority of Ontario courts end up ruling on behalf of the condominium. Luckily for pet owners, reasons behind their decisions are diverse: in one 2005 Ontario case, a cat in a “no pets” condo was allowed to stay because it had lived there for 10 years and was “invisible” to other residents.
Changing the Rules
It can be done. If a condo owner who wants a pet in a “no pet” building can convince 80 percent of the owners to agree to a rule change, they can have the rules changed. In practice however, this would be very difficult as many condo owners are generally apathetic about these issues and on average, 20% of your building may be rented — meaning the owners (or investors) are not actually living in the building. But keep in mind that pet-free living is the only option for some people, who may have severe allergies. In addition, some of the owners in the building may be understandably upset if they’ve already given away their own pets to follow the rules.
Finding a Condo That Allows Pets
Condo living is certainly not out of the question for pet lovers, as the vast majority of condos in Toronto allow pets. Some people may feel the opposite is true as most listings indicate that pets are not allowed. The reason is because the “pet” field is left at “no” as the default, and many agents unfortunately do not bother to confirm the buildings position on pets and leave it ‘as is.’
The truth is, about 95% of condos in Toronto allow for pets, however with some restrictions — usually to the number and size of the pet/s. Generally, no more than two cats, dogs or a combination can be allowed to occupy one unit, and they cannot be too large.
Have any questions about pet friendly buildings? Feel free to contact us for any assistance!
- Paul Stavro-Beauchamp &Robert Van Rhijn