As cities become more populated and land becomes more scarce, condominiums are becoming a home option of choice for many Canadians. For pet lovers who rent, condominiums are lifesavers, as most properties welcome animals. However, it’s best to be aware of all pet rules and regulations before purchasing or leasing a condominium as these vary per corporation.

Be A Responsible Resident
Familiarizing oneself with all aspects of a corporation’s operations will be beneficial in deciding if your chosen condominium is right for you and your family’s lifestyle. There have been many instances where owners moved into a condominium knowing all the rules relating to humans, but were unaware of the rules regarding pets. Condominium documents such as the Declaration, By-Laws, and Rules outline how the condominium operates and how the owners and their tenants operate within it, so it is important to review these documents when moving into a building with pets or bringing a furry friend back to a home you have already made your own.

An important note, the condominium board of directors shall enforce the rules in the corporation documents and owners shall follow the same once they become part of the condominium community. If someone is moving into a building and they have a dog, they should be aware of the rules of the condominium as these may well have an impact on their lives. Some corporation documents identify weight restrictions on pets, others have distinctions between what is considered a pet and what isn’t, and some ban pets outright. Many declarations have stipulations that pets must always be leashed on common areas mainly for the safety (and sanity) of all those in the community. These areas are called common for a reason – shared in common by all those in the condominium community. You may think your pet is cuddly and cute and would never hurt a fly, but there is someone out there scared to death of your poodle. Be kind and courteous when these rules are in place because you share the hallways and elevators with everyone and their enjoyment of these areas must be respected.

All of these rules are enforceable by the Corporation and must be followed by owners when living in the community. The Corporation documents should be read thoroughly by the pet owner before moving into a Condominium community to know how your new home will affect your pets. There are times where the agent selling the unit is less than truthful regarding all the information in the documents to make the sale quicker. This makes it difficult for pet lovers and owners – someone who has just made their biggest investment into a condominium that isn’t pet-friendly. Ignorance is not bliss in this case, as the rules will be enforced to the fullest extent as they are written. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that he/she is fully aware of rules and regulations. All documents should be reviewed before making any purchase to ensure you are in compliance where necessary.

Exception to the Rule
The only legislation that would supersede this is the Human Rights Code. If a unit owner requires a pet due to a disability then there is no rule, By-Law, or statement in the declaration that could separate the pet from the unit owner. Take note that for your pet to be exempted from a “No Pets” rule, a professional must officially declare the need. Many unit owners claim they “need” their pet, but if it cannot be proven, then all information in the corporation documents apply. If an owner claims that the three dogs, four cats, and two birds are required for his/her well-being, Management will be requesting the proper paperwork to prove it.

Perks of Pets in Condos
It’s not all bad news! Living with pets in condos can be fantastic. Pet-friendly condominium communities in the city become social hubs whereby those living within them can go for walks, runs, dog-sit, dog-walk and many other things that living in a stand-alone house wouldn’t provide. Taking your dog down the elevator and meeting other folks with their pets on the ride down is something that can only be experienced in condominium living.

Many people work long hours and have to leave their pets at home with no social interaction and no one to provide the exercise and affection they long for. For dogs especially, this can contribute to separation anxiety which may result in acting out every time their owner prepares to leave. This can cause a problem for the owner and the surrounding neighbours because, when a pet acts out in a condominium, your immediate neighbours are directly affected. This is a great opportunity to network with fellow pet lovers to take care of them during the day while you are at work. Daycare for pets can be expensive, so utilizing the relationships within your own condominium community can be a huge help for your wallet, your pet’s well-being, and your own peace of mind, knowing that your canine is being taken care of while you are not home.

Pets are a part of the family as well as the condominium community, which is why there are many aspects to consider when moving into a condominium or bringing a pet into one. The corporation documents should be reviewed carefully before making any decision and especially before purchasing. No excuse (e.g. “I didn’t know”, “I wasn’t told”, “Look how cute he is. How can you want him out?”) will allow you to break the regulations set out in the declaration, by-laws and rules. There are many positive reasons to have a pet and to bringing one into your condominium home, when it is done the right way.


3 Tips to Peaceful Condo Living with Pets


If you’ve yet to purchase/adopt a pet, do some research to determine which species and breed fare best in small spaces. For example, loud birds that are untrained may cause a disruption within the community.  Big dogs don’t necessarily mean more energy and smaller dogs aren’t automatically lap dogs. Some smaller breeds are very energetic and may not be suitable for condominium living as they need a lot of space to move around.


Be considerate of other residents within the property and ensure that your pet is well-trained. Take it upon yourself to properly discipline them when exhibiting improper behavior such as excessive barking/meowing/chirping, and/or aggression.


Always, always pick up after your
pet. No, pet excrement is not a
fertilizer. Dog waste carries
bacteria and pests that transmit
diseases, and leaving it in
common element areas not only
sullies the property, it also makes
for an unclean and unhealthy
environment for people living in
the community. Make sure that
other wastes are also cleaned up
even for pets that stay in the unit.
Any kind of excrement anywhere
on the property can carry diseases
when left uncleaned.