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Reviewing Legal Agreement

If you don't want pets in your rental unit, should you just put it in your Lease?


So, you are a Landlord, and you do not want pets in your rental units, so you include it in your lease, no pets.


  • You find a tenant, and they sign the lease, and you verbally advise them again no pets.


  • A couple weeks later, you go to check on the new tenants and the unit, to your surprise, they have pets!


  • You advise the tenants that there is not supposed to be any pets in the unit!


  • The tenants advise you that they can have the pets.


  • You state to the tenants that the lease says no pets,


  • The tenants inform you that you cannot do that, it is against law!


Who is right?


Is the Landlord allowed to state no pets?


Is the Tenant allowed to bring in pets despite signing a lease?


Let us explore these issues:


The Residential Tenancies Act speaks about pets. Paragraph 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act States:


“No pet” provisions void

14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void. 2006, c. 17, s. 14.


So, what does Section 14 of the RTA state? It states that, any pet clause in a lease is void.


What does that mean? It means that you cannot ban pets in your lease and have someone evicted because they have a pet. Your clause in the lease about having no pets, is not a valid clause, and the board will not enforce your No Pet Clause.


This means that a Tenant can bring in a pet, and just because your lease says no pets, does not mean it is legal. In fact, a No Pet Clause in your lease is not legal nor enforceable.


However, the law is never straight forward, and there are exceptions. If you are renting out a Condominium and the Condo rules state no pets, the Board will evict the tenant on an N5 for having pets against the Condo rules, but you must prove your case at the LTB.


In addition, Section 76 of the Residential Tenancies Act also speaks about pets and when an owner can be evicted for having pets.


Let us review and break down Section 76 of the RTA:


Application based on animals

76 (1) If an application based on a notice of termination under section 64, 65 or 66 is grounded on the presence, control, or behaviour of an animal in or about the residential complex, the Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant without being satisfied that the tenant is keeping an animal and that,


(a) subject to subsection (2), the past behaviour of an animal of that species has substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the landlord or other tenants;


(b) subject to subsection (3), the presence of an animal of that species has caused the landlord or another tenant to suffer a serious allergic reaction; or


(c) the presence of an animal of that species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord or the other tenants. 2006, c. 17, s. 76 (1).


Same

(2) The Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant relying on clause (1) (a) if it is satisfied that the animal kept by the tenant did not cause or contribute to the substantial interference. 2006, c. 17, s. 76 (2).


Same

(3) The Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant relying on clause (1) (b) if it is satisfied that the animal kept by the tenant did not cause or contribute to the allergic reaction. 2006, c. 17, s. 76 (3).


Section 76 allows a Landlord to apply under specific rules in the Act to evict someone who has pets, but the Landlord must be able to prove their case before an eviction is granted. The board will not evict a tenant simply because there is a pet—(unless it is a condo that does not allow pets).


1. 76 (1) If an application based on a notice of termination under section 64, 65 or 66 is grounded on the presence, control, or behavior of an animal in or about the residential complex.


a. A Landlord must bring forward an application on sections 64, 65, 66:


Termination for cause, reasonable enjoyment

64 (1) A landlord may give a tenant notice of termination of the tenancy if the conduct of the tenant, another occupant of the rental unit or a person permitted in the residential complex by the tenant is such that it substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the landlord or another tenant or substantially interferes with another lawful right, privilege or interest of the landlord or another tenant. 2006, c. 17, s. 64 (1).


Notice

(2) A notice of termination under subsection (1) shall,

(a) provide a termination date not earlier than the 20th day after the notice is given;

(b) set out the grounds for termination; and

(c) require the tenant, within seven days, to stop the conduct or activity or correct the omission set out in the notice. 2006, c. 17, s. 64 (2).


Notice void if tenant complies

(3) The notice of termination under subsection (1) is void if the tenant, within seven days after receiving the notice, stops the conduct or activity or corrects the omission. 2006, c. 17, s. 64 (3).


Termination for cause, reasonable enjoyment of landlord in small building

65 (1) Despite section 64, a landlord who resides in a building containing not more than three residential units may give a tenant of a rental unit in the building notice of termination of the tenancy that provides a termination date not earlier than the 10th day after the notice is given if the conduct of the tenant, another occupant of the rental unit or a person permitted in the building by the tenant is such that it substantially interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of the building for all usual purposes by the landlord or substantially interferes with another lawful right, privilege or interest of the landlord. 2006, c. 17, s. 65 (1).


Notice

(2) A notice of termination under this section shall set out the grounds for termination. 2006, c. 17, s. 65 (2).


Non-application of s. 64 (2) and (3)

(3) Subsections 64 (2) and (3) do not apply to a notice given under this section. 2006, c. 17, s. 65 (3).


Termination for cause, act impairs safety.

66 (1) A landlord may give a tenant notice of termination of the tenancy if,

(a) an act or omission of the tenant, another occupant of the rental unit or a person permitted in the residential complex by the tenant seriously impairs or has seriously impaired the safety of any person; and

(b) the act or omission occurs in the residential complex. 2006, c. 17, s. 66 (1).


Same

(2) A notice of termination under this section shall provide a termination date not earlier than the 10th day after the notice is given and shall set out the grounds for termination. 2006, c. 17, s. 66 (2


Firstly, the landlord must prove the tenant is keeping the animal subject to the dispute. [the Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant without being satisfied that the tenant is keeping an animal]. If the Landlord cannot prove that the pet is owned by a specific tenant, the board will not grant an eviction. Therefore, firstly, the Landlord should focus on proving which unit the animal in question resides in.


Next, your application must be consistent with Section 76(1) A, B, or C:


A) the past behaviour of an animal of that species has substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the landlord or other tenants;


B) subject to subsection (3), the presence of an animal of that species has caused the landlord or another tenant to suffer a serious allergic reaction; or


C) the presence of an animal of that species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord or the other tenants. 2006, c. 17, s. 76



These applications are not always easy to prove, and as the Landlord you must be prepared with strong evidence, be ready to present your matter, and prove your case on a balance of probabilities 51%.


If you are basing your application on Section 76(1)(a) serious and substantial interference, you need to be ready to prove that an animal has interfered with enjoyment. You will need witnesses, possibly police reports, animal control reports, and specific dates and times. These applications are hard to prove, and before an eviction is granted, you must prove your application on a balance of probabilities-- 51%. If you do not have compelling evidence, a strong legal case, and present it well to the board, you may not get your eviction. If you attend the board, and say a dog is barking loudly but with no proof or evidence, you will more than likely loose. Eviction is the last remedy under the board, and you must be able to prove your matter to the adjudicator.


If you are basing your application on Section 76(1)(b) allergies, you must prove serious allergies. Saying to the board that you have allergies is not enough, get a Doctor’s note, prove the animal is causing severe allergies, and be ready to present a compelling case. Legal advice and coaching are recommended!


If you are going to bring forward an application based on Section 76(1(c) [C) the presence of an animal of that species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord or the other tenants.] You will need to prove the species or breed is dangerous. Just because you do not like German Shepherds or similar breeds, does not make the animal inherently dangerous to the tenants or landlords’ safety. It is your obligation to prove your case and therefore, you should rely upon city bylaws, animal bans, veterinarian testimony etc. However, some animals will be obvious like say a Tiger, Lion or Cougar, those are inherently dangerous. Snakes, however, would be an argument because of all the different types of snakes out there. You most likely will not get an eviction on a Corn Snake just because it is a Snake, but you would more than likely succeed on the eviction for a venomous King Cobra. Therefore, to increase your chances of success, you need to be prepared, and I always recommend legal coaching and guidance for every application!


Pet Damages:

Now, what if a pet is doing damage? If a pet is causing damage, you need to prove the pet is causing damage, and file an N5. Once again, you need to prove your case, and state your remedy. Some damages may include scratched doors, urine odors and damage, dug out back yards, chewed fences, ripped up carpets and flooring etc. If a pet is doing damages be prepared to prove your case and serve an N5. You will need to prove the damages, and the pet was the cause of the damages. This can be a difficult task, and requires more than just your opinion, the board will want to see evidence.


In conclusion:

The very presence of pets in a residential unit is not grounds for eviction, even if your lease states no pets. You must have grounds for eviction based on Section 76 of the Residential Tenancies Act and apply to evict under section 64, 65, or 66. Knowing which application to apply for, and your legal rights and obligations is legal advice which I recommend a Consultation or Coaching Session.


Also, understanding what evidence you will need to present at the board, and how to present a compelling case is also what Legal Coaching can assist you with.

The Landlord and Tenant Board was designed to be a self-represented board, and in many cases, you can do it yourself, but do not do it alone. Book a coaching session with us to help you narrow down the issues, assist you on what you will need to prove your case, and receive guidance on best board practices. We always recommend full legal representation but not everybody wants nor can afford full legal representation, and that is why we offer unbundled affordable limited retainer coaching and consultation sessions! If you are having troubles with pets, book a Coaching Session to fully understand your legal rights and obligations.




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