If you already have a pet and are looking to rent, or if you already rent and want to get a pet, there are certain things you need to be aware of. In Alberta, it is up to the landlord if they allow pets or not. Even if they do allow pets, they can still restrict type and size etc., So, here is what you need to know.
Is it legal for a landlord to refuse pets?
Yes, perfectly. It is completely at the discretion of the landlord as to whether a property is pet-friendly or not. They also have the right to state what types or sizes of pets are allowed. Dog size is a common restriction in agreements. Often a landlord will restrict dogs to under a certain weight or height and breeds can also be restricted. Birds and exotic pets, such as reptiles are also often refused.
How will I know if pets are allowed or not?
You can simply ask the landlord, or you can refer to your lease agreement. If the lease agreement states that pets are not allowed, then you would be in breach of your lease if you then got a pet. Before buying any pet, allowed, or not, it is advisable to ask the permission of the landlord first.
If pets are allowed, can I have as many as I want?
Most landlords will have a restriction on the number of pets anyone resident can own. This will be detailed in your leasing agreement. Before buying any pet, it is advisable to ask the permission of the landlord first.
My original landlord allowed pets, but the new one has a no pet policy. Do I have to get rid of my pet?
No, the new landlord has to abide by the terms of the original agreement for existing tenants. New tenants must abide by the new policy. However, existing tenants who have a pet cannot replace or buy additional pets after the policy change.
Can the landlord charge a pet fee?
There are no restrictions regarding pet fees. It is up to the landlord if they charge one and how much. It can also be a refundable or non-refundable fee. Refundable pet fees fall under the security deposit rule and there are restrictions on how much can be charged – see this link, point 1.
Are service dogs exempt from the no pet rule?
According to the Service Dogs Act, a qualified service dog cannot be discriminated against, providing the owner can control the dog’s behaviour.
My landlord has received complaints about my pet, can I be evicted?
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, you have to be a responsible pet owner an keep your pet under control and not allow it to cause disturbance to other tenants or the landlord. If your landlord has received complaints, you should be notified and given the opportunity to rectify the situation. If you do not comply with this, your landlord can evict you.
Can the landlord take money from my deposit if I have a pet?
It is quite common for pet owners to lose some or all of their security deposit at the end of a tenancy. An apartment that has had a pet, such as a cat or a dog, will often need to be professionally cleaned when you move out. These fees will be passed onto you. Even if you believe the property has been left clean, a landlord will still want to have professional cleaners in to be sure future tenants will not be affected by things such as allergies, smells, pet hairs etc.
There is a no pet policy in my building, but surely a pet rabbit is allowed.
If the landlord has a no pet policy, then this forms part of your leasing agreement. If you break this rule with any type of pet, you can be evicted.
My landlord states my dog has to be crated whilst I’m away from home, is this legal?
A landlord can apply any type of restriction to pet ownership. If there is a requirement in your lease that a pet has to be crated, then you should do so. By not complying you are breaking the terms of your lease and can be evicted. However, if you have concerns about this issue, talk to your landlord. It might be they have a fear of entering premises with pets when owners are not present. If this is the case, you can come to an agreement that your pet will be crated if the landlord has to enter the premises in the future.
Are pets be allowed onto balconies or patios?
If the building allows pets, usually you are allowed to have pets enter the balcony or patio area providing they do not cause a nuisance to others. If there is a restriction in your lease agreement prohibiting this, then you need to abide by it.
Can I have a friend or dog walker enter my premises whilst I’m away?
As a tenant, you can have whoever you want to visit, but you will be held responsible for their actions. You are also allowed to make extra keys to give to people but must hand all original and duplicate keys in when you terminate your agreement.
So, as you can see, you do need to be aware of the rules about pets when you rent in Alberta. Calgary Apartment Reviews suggests that you research future landlords and buildings to be sure they meet your pet requirements before moving.