Emotions are running high at two CityPlace buildings after the condominium corporation started enforcing a rule that prohibits any pets that were not registered with the corporation by a specified date. The effect of this rule means that any new pets, as well as any pets not registered by the cut-off date, are prohibited.
It was reported in the media that the rule was passed by the condominium board in 2016 but enactment and enforcement of the rule were deferred until recently. At the time that the board adopted the rule and notified the condominium owners of the rule, the corporation did not receive any requisition from the owners requesting a meeting about the rule. The rule was enacted in response to complaints by non-pet owners about dogs urinating and defecating on the common elements, growling at people and running off leash.
Condominium corporations can enact reasonable rules to promote the safety, security or welfare of the owners and the property of the corporation or to prevent unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements, the units or the assets of the corporation. Below are examples of reasonable pet restrictions that can be incorporated in the rules:
- weight or size restriction;
- maximum number of pets per unit;
- prohibition on nuisance pets;
- a requirement that all pets must be on a leash or carried while on the common elements;
- prohibition on exotic pets.
A prohibition on pets contained in the rules is not valid and could be challenged by owners.
In order for a corporation to prohibit pets it needs to amend the condominium’s declaration. This is difficult to do as it requires the written consent of the owners of 80% of the units. This high threshold is particularly difficult to obtain when a large number of the unit owners are investors who do not live in their units.
Even if the corporation is able to amend the declaration to incorporate a pet prohibition, it would not apply to any pets living in the condominium prior to the enactment of the prohibition – those animals would be grandfathered and be allowed to live in the condominium until they died.
Not surprisingly, pet owners at CityPlace are fuming about the rule. It was reported in the media that some residents have circulated a petition to present to the condominium board to ask it to reconsider the rule.
The condominium declaration and rules are binding on all owners and residents of the condominium. However only registered unit owners have right to vote on condominium matters or to requisition a meeting. Tenants and other non-owner residents do not have any standing to participate in voting or give or withhold consent if required by the corporation. Some residents may think that it is unfair that they do not get any say in decisions relating to the place that they call home. However, the Condominium Act, 1998, which is the legislation governing all condominiums in Ontario, does not give these rights to non-owners.
Denise Lash is founder of Lash Condo Law.