Q: “I find that many of my better rental applicants have pets. Should I rent to them?”
– Canadian landlord
Unless the pet is a service animal, it is generally up to the discretion of a residential tenancy landlord whether to allow pets. One advantage of allowing pets, as this landlord points out, is that many good tenants want pets. A “no pets” policy will discourage a number of otherwise qualified applicants.
On the other hand, pets can disturb other residents and cause damage to the rental property.
Some landlords in this situation take the time to “meet” the applicant’s pet while conducting their tenant screening. This may pacify any concerns that the animal is unruly.
If you decide to allow pets in your rental property, find out if your provincial rules allow you to collect a pet deposit to offset possible property damage.
For instance, both B.C. and Manitoba allow for pet deposits, but limit the amount a landlord can charge in a yearly lease to one half of one month’s rent. Also, a landlord can only charge one deposit, regardless of the number of pets.
If you decide to disallow pets, you should state the “no pets” policy clearly in your tenancy agreement. However, there is no guarantee that you will be allowed to evict the tenant who violates the provisions without showing the pet is causing trouble.
For instance if you are in Ontario and discover during tenant screening that the applicant has a pet, according to the Landlord and Tenant Board you may refuse to rent to that person. But the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act states that any clause in a rental agreement that prohibits pets is void. This means that once a person becomes a tenant and they have a pet, even though the lease says pets are not allowed, the landlord cannot evict the tenant just for having the pet. However, the Landlord can apply to the Board to evict a tenant if the pet is causing a problem, for example, the pet is making too much noise, damaging the unit, causing an allergic reaction, or the animal or species is considered to be inherently dangerous.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.