Pets and Your Lease

Published: 

—  My new landlord won't let me move in with my pets...
—  My tenants never told me they wanted to adopt a Labrador...
—  My children want to adopt a kitten... What does my lease say?

With moving time around the corner, Éducaloi has important information about your right to keep pets in your apartment.

 

1 - The law has not changed.

Every year the same rumour spreads on social media that landlords can't prevent you from having a pet in your apartment. This is only a rumour and is not true.

 

2 - Be informed! Find out what rules apply to you.

Some rules prevent both landlords and tenants from keeping any animals in their homes. And sometimes, only specific kinds of animals are allowed.

Find out what rules apply to you.

  • Read your lease and your building's rules, or your condo by-laws.
  • Also, check with your city. Some cities limit the number of animals you can have. They can also prohibit breeding or sheltering certain species. So, find out before adopting that crocodile or boa!

 

3 - Tolerance is not permission!

Landlords sometimes tolerate animals on a case-by-case basis. For example, your landlord might let your neighbour have a cat but not you. Or your landlord might allow small dogs and cats but not big ones.

Careful! Tenants don't automatically have a right to keep pets just because their landlords have tolerated them in the past. For example, your landlord might have let you keep your dog for a long time. But after the dog dies, you don't necessarily have a right to keep another one.

 

4 - Negotiate.

Tenants can try to get their landlords' permission to have a pet even if their leases don't allow it.  

Talk to your landlord. If your landlord agrees, get it written in the lease or on a separate document that is dated and signed.

Important! In most cases, the landlord doesn't have to give permission.

 

5 - You might have to give up your pet or move.

Landlords can go to the Régie du logement to resolve disputes over pets.

  • If the lease or building rules don't allow pets, the Régie can order the tenant to give up the animal.
  • If the animal is causing serious harm, the Régie can cancel the lease and order the tenant to move. The tenant can avoid this by proving the animal does not cause serious harm.

 

6 - Exception: Dogs (and cats) with jobs!

Tenants who need an animal for their health or safety can keep it even if the lease or building rules prohibit pets.

Service Dogs
A landlord can't refuse to rent an apartment to handicapped people just because they have a service dog, such as a guard dog.

Animals Used for Zootherapy
A tenant can be allowed to keep an animal needed for therapeutic purposes on the following conditions:

  • The animal doesn't cause harm to the landlord or to other tenants.
  • The tenant must prove it would be harmful to her health if she didn't have the animal. A written notice from a doctor or psychiatrist is usually needed.