According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, 35 percent of Canadian homes include a dog, and 38 percent of Canadians own a cat. Pet ownership is popular in Canada, but animals can cause problems for people who want to rent a property. Some landlords don't take too kindly to these furry inhabitants, and some tenants find themselves in receipt of an eviction order because of their pet. Find out if this is legal, and learn more about the steps you should take if this happens to you.
Why landlords object to pets
Some landlords have no problem with pets. Indeed, pet-owning property owners often welcome cats and dogs because they understand that it's difficult to find accommodating landlords. Nonetheless, many residential landlords object to pet ownership.
In fairness, some residential landlords have negative experiences of tenants with pets. Larger pets can cause damage. Barking dogs can cause a nuisance, while cats and their canine friends can sometimes leave unwanted mess in public spaces. As such, from a landlord's perspective, a tenant without a pet will probably seem less likely to cause problems.
Toronto landlords don't have to rent property to people with pets. As such, you may find that a landlord will decline your application if you own up to having a pet. What's more, a landlord can put a 'no-pets' clause in your lease. What you may not realise is that your landlord cannot evict you if you break this rule.
Grounds for eviction
Any no-pets clause is void, according to the Residential Tenancies Act. However, a landlord can evict you if your pet causes a breach of other terms within your lease agreement.
- An animal that damages furniture in a rented apartment
- A dog that continually barks and causes a noise problem
- A cat that aggravates your neighbour's allergies
- A dangerous dog that attacks and injures a child in the hallway
While these issues relate directly to your animal, in all cases, the situation violates a clause in your lease that has nothing to do with pets. For example, if your dog barks or your cat causes an allergy, as the owner, you are interfering with other tenants' reasonable enjoyment of their property. This type of eviction could occur just as easily if you didn't have a pet at all.
Notice a landlord must give
If your pet causes a nuisance, your landlord may serve an eviction order. The amount of time that he or she must give you to move out varies according to the reason for the eviction. Generally speaking, if you cause damage or annoy the neighbours, your landlord must give you 20 days' notice to leave the property.
The eviction notice should also give you the opportunity to do something about the problem. The period of time depends on the problem, but the landlord should give you a reasonable chance to deal with the issue. If you improve but then the problem occurs again, the landlord only has to give you 14 days' notice to leave in any follow-up eviction notice that occurs within six months.
If you live in an apartment and your landlord lives in the same building, he or she doesn't have to give you a chance to remedy the situation. What's more, if you disturb your landlord, he or she must only give you ten days' notice to leave.
What to do if you receive an eviction notice
If you decide not to move out, your landlord must apply to the Landlord and Tenant Board for a more formal eviction notice. Your landlord must tell you when to attend a hearing and he or she must show you the application made to the Board for your eviction. If you don't go to a hearing, your landlord is likely to win. In serious situations, the landlord can ask the Board to evict you without a hearing.
As such, it's important to hire an experienced lawyer to help you challenge the case. He or she can make sure the landlord follows the correct process. Your lawyer can also help you collect evidence to defend the landlord's application. For example, your lawyer may ask the landlord to show evidence that proves your animal caused damage.
Toronto pet owners sometimes face struggles with residential landlords who don't like their animals. If a landlord tries to evict you because you have a pet, contact a trained real estate law professional straight away.