Can a Landlord Refuse to Rent to a Person who has a Pet?
Yes! In Ontario, a landlord can refuse to rent to their property a person who has a pet… however, once a lease has started, a Landlord cannot simply evict a tenant for having a pet.
Confused yet? Let me explain:
According to the Landlord and Tenant Board: “A landlord can refuse to rent to a person who has a pet.” They also mention that “A service animal is not considered a pet” and therefore if a tenant with a service animal makes an application to rent, that isn’t grounds for a refusal.
Now here’s where things get tricky…
The board also says: “A tenancy agreement cannot forbid a tenant from having a pet. And once there is a tenancy agreement, a landlord cannot evict the tenant simply for having a pet. This is true even if they agreed that the tenant would not have a pet.”
What this means is that once a lease starts, a landlord cannot evict or prevent a tenant from getting a pet. It also means that any wording in an agreement to lease which prohibits a tenant from having a pet is unenforceable. Even if the tenant hid a pet from you in the application process (ie. lied about having any pets), you still cannot evict them for having one.
HOWEVER… there are certain situations that The Board lists for when a landlord can start the eviction process and they are:
- the pet is making too much noise, damaging the unit or causing other tenants to have allergic reactions;
- the breed or species is inherently dangerous (e.g. a tenant’s pit bull could be considered “inherently dangerous” even if it hasn’t bitten anyone);
- the rules of the condominium corporation does not allow pets like the one tenant has.
The important distinction to make here is that a Landlord cannot evict the tenant just for having a pet, but rather only if a situation similar to the examples above occurs.
Can the Landlord Charge the Tenant a Damage Deposit?
The short answer is NO, and this extends to pet deposits as well. The Landlord and Tenant Board says the following:
A landlord cannot collect a damage deposit to pay for damage done to the unit. Also, a landlord cannot use the last month’s rent deposit to cover damages in the unit. The rent deposit can only be used for last month’s rent before the tenancy ends.
If the landlord finds that a tenant has damaged the unit or caused damage to the building, the landlord can give the tenant a notice of termination and/or ask them to pay for the damages. If the tenant doesn’t pay, the landlord can apply to have the LTB determine if there are damages and what should be done about them.
Tenants with Pets Summary
- Before a lease starts, a landlord can deny a tenants application simply for having a pet (Service animals excluded since they are not considered pets).
- A lease cannot contain any language that prevents a tenant from having or getting a pet.
- Once a lease is signed, a landlord cannot evict a tenant just for having a pet.
- A landlord cannot charge a tenant with a pet any sort of additional deposit for having a pet.