As some of you know, I'm on the hunt for a new residence. I had an experience with Del Condominium Rentals that left a really bad taste in my mouth, so I thought I'd share.
Del has some condos for rent in the King-Strachan area of Toronto which appealed to me. Seemed okay, the area is convenient, the agent kept saying "pet friendly, pet friendly", so I decided to apply to rent. Because a condo can prohibit pet ownership, I have pets, and I know enough to be dangerous to myself and others, I asked Del to provide me with their standard lease AND the condo's by-laws. These documents were promised to me on August 10th. I finally got them on August 23rd (when I'm supposed to move in on September 1st, roughly a week later). The condo's rules and regulations say "no pets"; more on that further down. The Del lease is worse; check out this snip of Del's "pet-friendly" provision (the bad grammar and sloppiness about defined terms are Del's):
"The Tenant(s) acknowledges that no pets of any kind are allowed to be brought in the premises even on a short term basis nor can pets of any guests or overnight visitors be allowed to bring their pets into the premises. The tenant acknowledges that the Landlord of the property and/or other tenants of the building in which the premises are situate would be severely inconvenienced by the presence of pets of the Tenant(s) or of his guests being brought into the premises or being allowed to remain, walk or pass over the common areas of the building in which the premises are situate and that it has been represented to all tenants in the said building that absolutely no pets of any tenant would be allowed to be brought into the said building. As a result, the Tenant(s) agrees that a breach of this covenant shall be a cause for imediate termination of this Lease....."
Really pet-friendly, huh? I'm disgusted by Del. When I asked for an addendum clearing my pets, Del sent me an even more unreasonable document that gave me no assurance about my pets but instead was an indemnity and release in favour of Del, in case my 7 pound cats terrorize the complex. They wouldn't agree to cover my moving expenses in case the condo unit was sold before the end of my lease; they wouldn't budge on anything. So, I terminated my business relationship with Del. I feel like billing them for my time and expenses.
The following is not legal opinion or advice and is not to be relied on, it's only my non-legal opinion from the reading I've done.
Pet ownership in a strictly rental residence in Ontario seems pretty clear; you can't be evicted just for having a pet, but you can if your pet does damage, disturbs or threatens others. That's fair.
In a condominium, though, it appears that the condo documents override any lease or tenant's rights. If you have a pet in a condo with "no pets" in its documents, you can be ordered to get rid of your pet or move.
If you plug "ontario condominium tenant and pet" into Google, you'll get up information and the fourth link down leads you to a lawyer's website with newspaper articles on this issue. I haven't asked the lawyer for permission to link, which I must do, which will make accessing the information easier.
So, if you're a pet owner who doesn't want to be slapped with a court order demanding that you give up your pet or move (regardless of whether you own or rent):
1. Beware condo by-laws. Read them before you move in. Make sure they permit pets.
2. Beware any oral representations by a sales agent, they're not worth the paper they're not written on.
3. Do your own due diligence, demand the documents and make sure you get them and read them long before you're supposed to move into the unit.
Onwards and onwards.....