Landlords vs tenants: Pets, or no pets?

London, ON, Canada / 106.9 The X

Juggling your life as a student trying to adult while also caring for a sweet companion is extremely difficult. With respect to pets, there’s some conflicting information out there in terms of whether tenants can actually have pets.

“The Residential Tenancy Act sets out that a no pets provision in a lease is void, which means essentially that although landlords have preferences to not have pets sometimes, the provision of not allowing/accepting a pet in a unit would be void. What this means in certain situations there is no reason that a landlord can say a tenant has to get rid of their pet unless that pet is causing a disturbance of some sort,” says Emma Simms, a licensed paralegal at the law firm of Cohen Highley.

At the start of a landlord and tenant relationship, many landlords prefer no pets because the reality is pets can cause damage, there’s sometimes odors associated with having pets, they scratch, they damage hardwood floors, etc. Your landlords are entitled to charge you for the actions of your pet if it reaches such lengths to do so.

“If a landlord has issues with respects to you bringing a pet after they told you they didn’t want one then the landlord can take actions and steps to terminate your tenancy. The basis for that is not because you brought the pet in, but simply because that pet is causing a disturbance to the property, or interfering with other tenants on the property,” explains Simms.

Severe allergies are included in the list of reasons that landlords can terminate your tenancy with unwanted pets in the house. Allergies are considered interfering with another tenant’s ability to live on the property.

Be real with yourself: Make sure you can truly care for a pet alongside your busy student life, and it’s just as important to remember to talk to your landlords about it.

If you are having issues or need advice, consider contacting an adoption counsellor at the London Humane Society at  (519) 451-0630 ext. 234.

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