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What are the ground rules for pet owners?

Some condominiums prohibit pets of any kind. Others may prohibit the number, type or size of pets. All condominiums have rules governing the keeping of pets which if broken can lead to an order for the permanent removal of the pet from the complex. If you have a pet make sure you understand what the rules are.


Condominium corporations that have a good set of rules and who apply them in a consistent and fair manner should have little difficulty enforcing them against those few owners who won't live up to the community's standards. In those cases where, as a last resort, it becomes necessary to take legal action condominiums can utilize s.49 of the Act which, among other things, allows the corporation to apply to a Judge for an order directing the nonconforming resident to comply with the rules.

The ability of condominiums to enforce their rules received a tremendous boost from the Ontario Court of Appeal when it rendered its decision on the case of York Condominium Corp. No. 383 v. Dvorchik, (1997). This case involved a highrise condominium that had a rule which prohibited pets in the building which weighed more than 25 pounds. The corporation had already successfully enforced this rule against an owner in 1988, and were understandably upset when in a 1992, decision another Judge refused to uphold it on the grounds that it was unreasonable. On appeal the corporation was successful in obtaining an order for the removal of the pet. What was so significant about this case were the strong statements made by the Court of Appeal in rendering their decision.

The Court of Appeal stated that, "...a court should not substitute its own opinion about the propriety of a rule enacted by a condominium board unless the rule is clearly unreasonable or contrary to the legislative scheme. In the absence of such unreasonableness, deference should be paid to rules deemed appropriate by the board charged with responsibility for balancing the private and communal interests of the owners. "

Court went on to state that, "...The threshold for overturning a board's rules reasonably made in the interests of unit owners is a high one..."

Opinion above courtesy of Ronald S. Danks of Simpson, Wigle Barristers and Solicitors)

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