What Rights Does A Landlord Have When Renting To A Pet Owner?



As an advisor to real estate investors, Regalway is always considering ways to improve your rental rates, lower your vacancies, and ensure your investment is providing the best income possible.


By allowing pets in your rental properties, you might be able to increase rates and get more rentals, but is it a bad long-term decision? Let’s take a look at whether pets are a good idea for landlords, specifically in Ontario, Canada.


What does the law state?


You cannot evict a tenant with a pet unless you live in a condominium with rules against pet ownership in the condo bylaws. (AnimalJustice.ca)


You can refuse to rent to anyone with a pet if you know that before the lease is signed, as long as the pet is not a service animal (service animals are actually not considered “pets”.) But, once signed, your tenant has every right to purchase or adopt a pet and there’s not a thing you can do about it.


You are not allowed to charge pet rent in Canada. Pet deposits are also not allowed. (You can require a pet deposit equal to one month’s rent, but considering that it cannot be used as a security deposit and must be returned once the lease is up, along with interest, it’s not a pet deposit in the truest sense.) (Moneysense.com)


So, landlords have few options on providing a pet-friendly rental unless they only invest in condos with restrictive bylaws.


Are you allowed to be specific about types of pets?


Again, not really! If you know that your tenant has a cat and you’re ok with that, that’s fine. But, they could purchase a great dane once they’ve moved in, and you have very little recourse.


The law in Ontario states that Pit Bulls are illegal, so that’s the only stipulation you can make on pets. (Zolo.ca) Strangely, only orcas and pit bulls are illegal in the province of Ontario! (TheStar)


Is there a need for pets-friendly rentals in Ontario?


Figuring out the amount of pets and whether they are in rentals is not a perfect science, but we can piece enough information together to get a good overall picture.

  1. The rental market is competitive and not expected to slow down.

Since 1990, Ontario has built: 1,075,779 units for homeownership; 410,562 condo units; 143,091 purpose-built rental units. (https://cubetoronto.com/ontario/how-many-apartments-are-in-ontario/)

  1. There are a lot of pets in Canada

From 2018 to 2020, the Canadian dog population continued to grow, increasing from 7.6 million to 7.7 million, while the population of cats stabilized. However, cats continue to outnumber dogs, with 8.1 million cats considered to be household pets in 2020. (Globenewswire.com)

  1. The demographic of renters matches the upcoming demographic of pet owners.


According to a study in 2018, over half of Ontario households between the ages 25 to 34 are renters. (Acto.ca)


“Work from home has led to an explosion in pet adoption. 18% of Canadian pet owners acquired their companion during the pandemic. In 2021, over half of Canadians own a pet, with the greatest pet ownership among those aged 18-24.” (Osler.com)


So, over the next few years, we can expect to see many of the new renters entering the market to already have a pet.


The end result: There is definitely a market for pet-friendly rental properties. There are few options for landlords when it comes to protecting the property from pet damage, but investing in the right place, with a good tenant, could help avoid the need. Regalway Homes can help!


Get in touch with us now!


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