We get it. Pets are messy, dirty, destructive, allergenic, loud, and smelly. But they are also wonderful fur balls of joy. More and more excellent tenants are bringing home these playful pals, which might cause issues for you, the LandLord.
First off, we believe a great relationship between LandLord and Tenant is essential to the management of a successful investment property. So, we will approach the pet issue from both sides.
So, read on to learn how you can let pets in the house, without turning it into an Animal House. Here’s what you need to know about renting with pets.
Don’t Advertise “No Pets” In Your Listing
By law denying a rental application based solely on the tenant owning pets is not allowed. Therefore, adding a “no pets” clause is void on any rental agreement. (Some condos have by-laws limiting amount or size of pets.) So, a LandLord can easily say “no pets” in their ad but can’t really enforce that rule. Although most tenants want to build good relationships with their LandLords, they can easily not mention their pet until they’re moved in. At that point they cannot be evicted solely for having a pet.
Don’t bother making rules you can’t enforce which might also cause tension between you and your tenant.
Don’t Try to Charge for Pets
A common concern for LandLords housing pets is the damage they can unleash on a property. Their pee is acidic to the lawn and carpets, the drywall is sometimes a chew toy, and the hardwood floors become scratch pads. Unfortunately, this is the cost of owning investment property. It would be illegal to charge a deposit or extra fees for a tenant renting with pets.
If the pet causes a lot of damage you can sue the tenant in small claims court. But, this will also cost you and take up some time.
There Are Eviction Exceptions
The exception which allows LandLords to evict pet owners is if the pet is affecting the enjoyment of others living at the property. This could be a case if the pet is showing aggression, destroying the property, being loud, or allergenic to someone with severe allergies. These are somewhat extreme cases.
Pet Owners Might Be Great Tenants
Now we can see that forbidding pets is not in the LandLords favour. But, perhaps it’s not in the LandLords interest either. There are a lot of great tenants who are also great pet owners. By disregarding the entire pet owning population, the LandLord might miss out on a wonderful, long-term tenant. The key here is to screen your tenants well. If they own a dog, that’s not a problem. If their previous LandLord says the dog was loud and destroyed the property, then there might be a problem.
We think it’s important to build a strong relationship between landlords and tenants. Start by understanding these regulations and being honest with each other. References from previous landlords will reveal if the pet will cause problems. But, don’t discriminate against all pet owners, they might be great tenants!
See the Landlord Tenant Board FAQ here: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/ltb/faqs/#faq8