Can a Landlord Refuse to Rent A Unit to Me Just Because I Have a Cat?
Despite Contrary Terms Within a Lease, Tenants Are Allowed to Possess Pets Within a Residential Premise. The Exceptions Are Where the Pet Poses a Safety Risk or Unreasonably Interferes With Others.
It is somewhat common that a lease will contain a 'no pets' clause; however, as per section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, Chapter 17 (the "RTA"), any such provision within a lease agreement is void despite the agreement established between the landlord and tenant; and accordingly, such a clause is unenforceable. Specifically, the RTA states:
“No pet” Provisions Void
14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.
As with most rules, there are exceptions. In respect of where a landlord is, generally per s. 14 of the RTA, forbidden from banning a tenant from having pets, s. 76 of the RTA provides the exceptions whereas it is said:
76 (1) If an application based on a notice of termination under section 64, 65 or 66 is grounded on the presence, control or behaviour of an animal in or about the residential complex, the Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant without being satisfied that the tenant is keeping an animal and that,
(a) subject to subsection (2), the past behaviour of an animal of that species has substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the landlord or other tenants;
(b) subject to subsection (3), the presence of an animal of that species has caused the landlord or another tenant to suffer a serious allergic reaction; or
(c) the presence of an animal of that species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord or the other tenants.
A clause within a lease stating that a residential tenancy shall be without pets is void; however, there are exceptions whereas if the pet presents as a safety hazard or is substantially infering in the reasonable enjoyment of others living within the residential complex, a landlord may apply to the Landlord Tenant Board for an Order that would, essentially, set aside the 'no pets' restriction and thereby ban a pet.