Evicting Tenants with Pets in Ontario
By Brian Madigan LL.B.
Are tenants allowed pets? And, if they have them, can you evict them?
Have a look at the relevant provision under the Residential Tenancies Act:
“No pet” provisions void
"14. A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void."
So, any clause in a residential lease under the Act would be void.
What about boisterous, unruly and objectionable pets? Can a landlord terminate the lease?
Have look at s, 76 of the Act:
"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.
(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.
(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."
If a tenant has a pet and the landlord wishes to terminate the lease, then the landlord must prove:
1) the species’ behaviour is risky, that is, it would amount to substantial interference with the reasonable enjoyment of the landlord and/or other tenants,
2) the species presence has caused the landlord/or other tenant a serious allergic reaction,
3) the species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord/or other tenants
In the cases of 1 and 2 above, the Board will not evict the tenant if the animal itself did not cause or contribute to the “substantial interference”, or the “allergic reaction”.
The landlord must prove:
· Risky species, and
· Actual realized harm caused by the specific animal
From the landlord’s perspective, this might be quite difficult to prove. That means no lions, tigers, bears or anacondas, but most cats and dogs should be able to pass the test. Vicious dogs which have already bitten someone would probably afford the necessary grounds.
The term “pets” is not defined under the Act. It does even say “ordinarily domesticated animals. This leaves open snakes, small alligators, lizards and other reptiles.
How big can the cat be? There is no restriction on size. There is not even a limitation concerning whether the animal would ordinarily require a permit to be placed in a zoo. This leaves open cougars, panthers, and other middle size cats while they are still young.
You will notice from the Act that without anything of practical measurement, the legislation very much favours the tenants.
So, a reasonable law-abiding tenant could easily get stuck with months of Landlord and Tenant Board applications concerning a crazy tenant with wild animals.
Just don’t rent to someone who works for a circus or zoo!
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker is an author and commentator on real estate matters, if you are interested in residential or commercial properties in Mississauga, Toronto or the GTA, you may contact him through Royal LePage Innovators Realty, Brokerage 905-796-8888