I received a really great question this week from a site visitor about having pets – and if there are any discrimination laws regarding pets and rental properties (i.e. can you turn down a potential renter if they have a pet?).
The question was:
Do you happen to know the laws with respect to turning down somebody wanting to rent your house on the basis of their having a pet? My son tells me that you can’t do that, unless it’s a sublet and it’s written in the lease that pets aren’t allowed.
My initial reaction and answer was: ” That’s a good question – I don’t know “for sure” but it has been my understanding that you can turn someone down for the pets thing – simply due to allergies, damage, etc. You can’t discriminate, of course, but pets – that’s a whole other thing that brings with it health issues, etc….
That’s my understanding, but I can’t take it to court with me if you get my drift…
If you find out for sure please let me know…I’ll try to do some digging too as I have time tomorrow.. ”
She (my site visitor) did some digging and found this:
Q6: The landlord says I must either move out or get rid of my pet; Do I?
A6: Only if the pet is dangerous, causes allergic reactions or causes problems for other tenants or the landlord, must you get rid of your pet or consider moving elsewhere as per Landlord application to terminate tenancy based on animals.
Even if you signed a lease with a “no pets” clause, if the pet is not a problem for anybody they can not enforce it; such no pets clauses are invalid under the law.
You do not have to move or get rid of the pet unless the Board issues a written order to do so.
In addition, she found a great page on the Canadian Human Rights Commission website that “provides comparative information on the grounds of discrimination covered by federal, provincial and territorial human rights legislation in Canada.”
I think that, as a property owner or manager, adding “due to allergies” is a safe way to make sure you are covered. I don’t think anyone can argue with that…