Most people are simply indifferent when it comes to pets, while others simply can’t stand them, but for cat and dog owners, pets are family members, period.

Obviously, civility and common sense should dictate the actions of the owners, but what about rules? How can you avoid lawsuits and arguments on either end?

Here are the important things to know when it comes to the presence of pets in condos.

Is it a good idea to ban pets?

It can be tempting for a condo association to ban animals. Know, however, that this could make the sale of a unit more difficult by discouraging a great deal of potential buyers. Indeed, statistics show that nearly 25% of Quebec households have a dog.

If the declaration of co-ownership is already in place and you wish to modify it to include a ban on animals, this would modify the building’s purpose. This in turn would require 75% of owners holding 90% of the voices being favourable to an amendment of the constituting act of co-ownership. Condos whose declaration was made before 1994, and who are subjected to the unanimity rule will have to obtain 100% of the votes for the amendment to go through.

Furthermore, these clauses have often been declared invalid by the courts. All this to say that an outright ban can often cause more negative consequences and complications than anything.

Regulating rather than banning pets

Rather than opting for an outright ban, it may be preferable to regulate pet ownership. That scenario would only require a majority of voices.

The most common rules concern their presence and movement through common areas, or a maximum number of animals per unit.

Some rules target animals deemed harmful, and the obligation to get rid of them if the administrators vote in this direction. Although some court rulings have upheld the validity of such rules, it remains difficult to prove an animal’s harmfulness and to legally force an owner to get rid of their pet.

Pet owners looking to buy in a condo with a ban

Before purchasing a condo, make sure you understand the rules when it comes to pets, if any, in the declaration of co-ownership. As previously mentioned, it is possible to challenge them, but it affect your peace of mind to start off a relationship with your new neighbours in such fashion. Check out this article for other good reminders about what you need to find out about your condo before buying.

If your pet is not causing harm or disturbing anyone, you should at the very least be able to use the common areas to enter and leave the building with your four-legged friend.

Out of civility and respect, avoid letting your pet relieve itself on the balcony, and make an effort to keep noises and odours caused by your pet to a minimum.

In order to avoid as much stress as possible, always make sure to do your homework before buying a condo.

Keys takeaways

  • An outright ban is hard to establish and enforce, and can make it more difficult for you to sell your condo.
  • Regulating pet ownership is usually a better solution for all involved.
  • Pet owners need to be civil and respectful of other owners.