Pet Restrictions in Rental and Condo Units

Jason Roblin
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2423

The numbers don’t lie. We, as a nation, love our furry, four-legged friends. In fact, according to a survey done for Canadian Animal Health Institute in 2016, there are 8.8 million cats and 7.6 million dogs considered to be household pets across Canada.

As a pet owner, there is often a lot of consideration taken into account as to where you are going to live especially if you are in the market to buy a condominium or if you are looking for an apartment to rent.

Vionell Holdings, a property management company with property in Brandon and Thompson, allows pets (with restrictions) in well over half of the units that they have available. If you consider that they have just over 3,500 units, that is a lot of pet-friendly space available!

Investors of rental property or the condominium board of directors typically set the restrictions regarding pets for the units that are under their control. While some may believe that best way to protect the value of the buildings is to offer a pet-free environment in these communities, others are more inclined to offer pet-friendly options, but with various restrictions.

Most of these restrictions are just slightly less than the City of Brandon by-law that states that no person shall own more than two dogs or two cats over the age of six months. And there are sometimes requirements from the city relating to licensing for pets which includes proof of vaccination.

The most typical restriction is limiting the condominium owner or apartment dweller to either one dog or one cat. As well, sometimes a size limit is placed on dogs (some residents may be afraid of large dogs) and animals may be restricted to certain areas of the complex. However, when it comes to service dogs they are welcome in any community.

Service animals as defined by the Manitoba Human Rights Code are animals specifically trained to assist a person with a disability. The work or task(s) performed by a service animal must be directly related to a person’s physical or mental disability.  Animals that provide comfort and companionship and that are not trained to assist with a person’s disability are not service animals.

While cases have been made by pet owners that their pet is an emotional support animal, this isn’t the same as a service animal. For most animal lovers, pets are indeed emotional support animals, however, they are still pets. Service animals have been specifically trained and have a serious job to do and that is why they are treated differently.

It opens a giant can of worms if property investors and condominium boards were to allow emotional support animals into units where decisions have been made that pets are not welcome. Consider how you would react if you saw someone carrying a 25-foot python that could eat a small child into a condominium that prohibits pets? You can bet that the resident pushed the issue far enough to get allowances for an emotional support animal, but does that make it right for the other residents or for prospective residents?

I have pets of my own, but I wouldn’t want my pets interfering with the lives of other tenants or potentially causing them allergy-related issues when they bought a condo or rented an apartment that was designated as a pet-free environment.

For tenants on the opposite end of each spectrum, there is good news for all. Most of the complexes managed by Vionell Holdings have designated pet-friendly units. This means that the pet lovers can live in harmony beside other pet lovers; and for those who do not care to be around animals, particularly if they have allergies, they can steer clear of the pet-friendly units.

Now, if we can all just be courteous and clean up after our pets, we can help to maintain the space around our complexes for everyone to enjoy and be proud of.

Vionell Holdings Partnership (VHP) provides rental housing and property management for an array of residential and commercial customers, including Condominium Management. VHP currently has over 3,500 units under management in Manitoba.