In Ontario, there are limited grounds on which a landlord may evict a tenant for bringing an unwelcome pet into a rental property. This blog will focus on one of those grounds. Specifically, what is required in order to evict a tenant on the basis that the landlord and/or other tenant(s) are allergic to said pet.

From the outset, it is important to note that there are specific laws in Ontario that govern the mention of pets in a tenancy agreement. Section 14 of the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006[1] (“RTA”) states,

14 A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.  2006, c. 17, s. 14. [2]

Nevertheless, section 76 allows for the possibility of evicting a tenant on the basis of having a pet, provided that certain conditions are met:

76 (1) If an application based on a notice of termination under section 64, 65 or 66 is grounded on the presence, control or behaviour of an animal in or about the residential complex, the Board shall not make an order terminating the tenancy and evicting the tenant without being satisfied that the tenant is keeping an animal and that,

(a) subject to subsection (2), the past behaviour of an animal of that species has substantially interfered with the reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex for all usual purposes by the landlord or other tenants;

(b) subject to subsection (3), the presence of an animal of that species has caused the landlord or another tenant to suffer a serious allergic reaction; or

(c) the presence of an animal of that species or breed is inherently dangerous to the safety of the landlord or the other tenants.  2006, c. 17, s. 76 (1).[3]

The case law below suggests that in order to be successful when applying to the Landlord Tenant Board (“LTB”) for an eviction order under section 76(1)(b),  medical evidence must be produced to substantiate the alleged allergy.

In file no. TEL-78564-17[4], the landlord argued that the tenant brought a dog and a cat into the rental property, both of which his children were allergic to. The landlord also argued that he required possession of the rental unit for the purpose of residential occupation. The LTB ordered the tenant to vacate the home within one month on the basis that the landlord, in good faith, required possession of the rental unit. However, with respect to the allergy component of the landlord’s argument, the LTB dismissed it on the basis that the landlord provided no medical evidence of the alleged allergies.[5]

Similarly, in file no. CEL-22300-12[6], the landlord attempted to evict the tenant on the basis that her daughter was allergic to the tenant’s dogs. The landlord’s application was dismissed. Although the daughter was being sent for allergy testing, at the time of the hearing there was no conclusive medical evidence of her allergy. It was held that without confirmation that the daughter was allergic to dogs, it would be unreasonable to expect the tenant to get rid of her pets or to terminate the tenancy.

Yet, in file no. TNL-51096-13[7], the landlord had asthma, which was exacerbated by the tenant’s dog. The landlord provided ample medical documentation to root this claim. The LTB ordered the tenant to vacate the property within two weeks.

It is noteworthy, that even once an eviction order is granted by the LTB, the end of the tenancy is not absolute. In file no. SOL-04005-10[8], the landlord argued that he had severe allergies to the tenant’s pets and that the presence of the pets substantially interfered with his reasonable enjoyment of the residential complex.  Although the LTB found that the landlord’s allergies were substantiated and that the tenant should be evicted, relief from the eviction was granted to the tenants pursuant to subsection 83(1) of the RTA. The LTB held,

Though I am satisfied that the Landlord has severe allergies to dogs and cats, the Landlord does not reside in the building. The Tenants have accommodated the Landlord by doing their own repairs in the unit even though maintenance of the unit is the Landlord’s responsibility under the Act.

The Landlord testified he has been managing properties for thirty years. He also owns other rental units. I am not satisfied that the Landlord does not have the resources to hire someone to maintain and repair the rental units.

This is a long term tenancy. The male Tenant has been residing in the unit for eight years and the female Tenant for three years. They have had their cat for fifteen years. The Tenants are close friends to their neighbouring tenants. Under these circumstances an order to get rid of their animals or vacate the unit would create undue disruption in the lives of the Tenants.

I have considered all of the disclosed circumstances in accordance with subsection 83 and find it would not be unfair to refuse to grant the application pursuant to subsection 83(1) (a) of the Act.[9]

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[1] SO 2006 c17 [RTA].

[2] Ibid at s.14.

[3] Ibid at s.76.

[4] 2017 CanLII 49031 (ON LTB).

[5] Ibid at para 7.

[6] 2012 CanLII 44830 (ON LTB).

[7] 2014 CanLII 28553 (ON LTB).

[8] 2010 CanLII 25248 (ON LTB).

[9] Ibid.