Navigating Pet Ownership Laws in Toronto Rentals and Condos

2 pets waiting to see if they are allowed in a rental unit in Toronto.

Navigating pet ownership rules in Toronto and the greater Ontario rental apartments and condominiums can be a complex task, especially when it comes to understanding the rights of tenants and residents regarding service animals. This article aims to clarify these rules, ensuring that pet owners and property managers alike are well-informed.

Key Points:

Pet Policies in Rental Apartments:

  • No “No Pets” Clauses: In Ontario, landlords cannot include a “no pets” clause in rental leases. Any such clauses are considered void and unenforceable under Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).
  • Eviction for Pets: While landlords cannot evict tenants for having a pet, they may do so if the pet causes damage, disturbs other residents, or if another tenant has allergies. Landlords must seek an order from the Landlord and Tenant Board to remove pets for these reasons.
  • Condominium Bylaws: Condos can have their own bylaws that restrict or prohibit pets. However, service animals must be accommodated due to the Ontario Human Rights Code, which overrides condo declarations.

Pet Policies in Condominiums:

  • Regulations and Prohibitions: Condominium declarations may include provisions to regulate or prohibit pets, but these must not conflict with the rights of disabled residents to have service animals.
  • Service Animals: There’s no official government certification for service animals in Ontario. The condo corporation can ask for medical confirmation of the disability, but cannot deny accommodation of service animals.
  • Enforcement: While a condo declaration may prohibit pets, this is not enforced against occupants with a disability as long as they remain disabled.

What Renters Should Do:

  • Check Condo Bylaws: Before moving into a condo, check the corporation’s bylaws regarding pets.
  • Document Service Animal Need: If you have a disability and require a service animal, be prepared to provide medical confirmation if requested.

What Landlords Should Consider:

  • Review RTA: Familiarize yourself with the RTA to understand your rights and responsibilities regarding pet ownership among your tenants.
  • Condo Bylaws Compliance: Ensure that your condo’s bylaws comply with the Ontario Human Rights Code regarding service animals.

Pet Ownership in Rental Apartments

In Ontario, rental apartment buildings cannot outright prohibit pets. This is a significant point for pet owners who rent, as it means they generally have the right to keep pets in their homes. However, there are circumstances where a tenant’s pet can become a concern, particularly if it causes damage, disturbance, or health issues for other residents. In such cases, landlords can take action, but a complete ban on pets is not enforceable under Ontario’s housing laws.

Condominiums and Pet Regulations

apartment building in Scarborough Ontario, part of the Greater Toronto Area.

The situation in condominiums can differ. Here, the condominium’s declaration can include provisions to regulate or even prohibit pets within the building. Condo boards are allowed to set these rules, and they can vary significantly from one condominium to another.

Service Animals and the Ontario Human Rights Code

A crucial aspect to note is the accommodation of service animals in condominiums. The O Human Rights Code takes precedence over condo declarations when it comes to service animals for owners or residents with disabilities. This means that even if a condo has a no-pet policy, an exception must be made for service animals assisting individuals with disabilities.

service dog reading a book for it's owner.

Service Animal Certification in Ontario

In Ontario, service animals do not require formal certification. This is an important distinction as it means that there is no official government body that certifies these animals. Condominium corporations can ask for medical confirmation of the resident’s disability, but they cannot deny the accommodation of a service animal based on a lack of certification.

Enforcement of Pet Prohibitions

While the condo declaration may prohibit pets, this is not enforced against occupants with disabilities who rely on service animals. As long as the individual remains disabled, the prohibition on pets is effectively set aside to accommodate the service animal. This ensures that residents with disabilities are not unfairly disadvantaged and can fully benefit from the support of their service animals.


Understanding the nuances of pet ownership laws in Ontario is crucial for both tenants and property managers. While rental apartments offer more leniency towards pet ownership, condominiums have their own set of rules that can restrict or regulate pets. However, the accommodation of service animals for people with disabilities remains a protected right, superseding other pet-related regulations in condos. For anyone navigating these laws, especially in the context of service animals, it’s recommended to seek legal advice to ensure full compliance and understanding. Law offices specializing in real estate, like Jay Teichman’s, can provide expert guidance and support in these matters.

No solicitor-client or other relationship is created by an exchange of emails between us. This material is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to and does not provide legal advice.