I’m a dog owner and looking to leave my house for a condo. How can I know that having dogs in my new condo won’t be a problem?

Considering that a 2019 poll conducted by pet services website Pawzy.co reported that 95 per cent of Canadians consider pets family, it’s no surprise that meeting our pets’ needs heavily influences our real estate buying decisions.

The best way to know if a condominium that you’re considering allows pets is to ask. You should have your salesperson request a copy of the condominium status certificate, rules, by-laws and declaration of the condominium corporation, along with critical disclosure documents relating to both the corporation and building. This is typically done as a conditional clause in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. These documents are available from the condominium corporation’s office or property management company for a fee that is to not exceed $100.

I know this may sound like a lot of paperwork. But when weighing the risks of moving forward with a purchase, only to later discover that you’ve bought in a condominium that does not permit pets, reviewing some paperwork may suddenly seem less burdensome. By working with your salesperson and real estate lawyer to review such documents, you can determine what is and isn’t allowed.

When it comes to choosing the best condominium for you, you don’t have to let condo rules ruffle your feathers. Keep in mind that they have been put in place to help owners, occupants and pets all live harmoniously. The trick is to find the community that will best suit your desired lifestyle. Be upfront and clear with your salesperson about your pet needs, disclose details about your pet’s breed and size, plus any details that could help them narrow down listing options for your consideration.

Examples of restrictions may include:

    • Prohibiting any pets or animals from being kept in the condo corporation (with the exception of service animals).
    • Limiting the type, species or number of pets or animals you can keep.
    • Prohibiting animals that exceed a certain weight or size limit.

Risks associated with not having completed your due diligence before committing to a purchase can result in costly disputes, complaints, proceedings and — in extreme circumstances — even a possible order of eviction for the animal.

In addition to practising your due diligence in selecting a condo that accepts pets and will meet the needs of you and your furry companion, I suggest that you also speak with your salesperson about assessing neighbourhoods for dog-friendly features — such as a high Walk Score and a local dog park.

The Condominium Authority of Ontario’s Condominium Authority Tribunal (CAT) assumed exclusive jurisdiction over these types of condo disputes on October 1, 2020 and has made a wealth of materials, resources and information on steps that can be taken to resolve issues available on its website, www.condoauthorityontario.ca.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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