Dogs and condos: Everything you need to know!
March 4, 2023
Several weeks ago, an off-leash dog park in King West made news when the city posted a notice telling dog owners not to let their dogs bark. At a dog park no less. The sign was widely mocked and quickly removed.
However, it’s evidence that dog ownership has increased significantly over the course of the pandemic and, just as with people, they need somewhere to live and play without being an annoyance. The dog park was there before the condos were built but you still don’t expect to hear yapping from dawn until dusk.
If you’re a dog owner and live in a single-family, detached home, there’s less to worry about. You have no shared walls and you may even have a yard for Luna or Buster to roam in.
If you live in a condo, it’s usually a different experience being a pet owner. Oftentimes, there are a slew of rules and regulations that you need to be aware of before you make a move. It’s best to be sure you’re up on whatever restrictions may be in place before committing to the purchase of your condo of choice.
It’s not all bad news, though. Developers are aware of how many condo-dwellers have dogs and some buildings have amenities specifically designed for them! For instance, the Merchandise building has a dog run on its roof and 76 Shuter Street has dog washing stations just off the lobby entrance.
Back to the rules: different condos have different by-laws so find out what the rules are before you fall in love with a puppy.
Most condos limit the number of dogs you can have in one unit. They may also restrict the size and the breed; and some buildings are serious sticklers. At one point, 77 Carlton Street was said to have had a catalogue of the residents’ dogs, complete with names and pictures, and tracked the pups as they moved on and off of the premises.
Many newer building only allow dogs below a specific weight. For example, no dog over 30lbs. Part of the reasoning for only allowing smaller dogs is that some residences don’t allow people to walk their dogs out through the common elements; they must be carried as they are less likely to soil the carpet.
Speaking of soils, an increasing number of buildings are making residents register their pets and have them DNA tested, so that if Milo drops a deuce and you don’t pick it up, they know who is doing it and can take action. It may sound silly, but you only have to step in dog poop once to know it’s a problem.
Although you’re legally allowed to own three dogs, the condo by-laws will often restrict that number to two dogs in a unit.
When it comes to the breeds, some don’t allow German Shepherds, Pitbulls, or Dobermans.
You also have to be aware of the noise that pets are making. As we all know, some pets have severe separation anxiety. If neighbours complain (you wouldn’t want to live beside a dog that barked incessantly either), the condo board can give the owners opportunities to deal with the dog. If the issue isn’t remedied, the corporation’s lawyer gets involved and it could result in an order to have the dog removed within two weeks. Nobody wants this type of decision to be made but the corporation has every right to do this (and I tell you this as a dog lover). It’s something that you should be aware of at the time of purchase.
If you break the rules, not only can you be forced to give up your dog, but you could also be liable for the legal fees incurred. In this instance, one man was forced to give up his dog and his landlord had to pay the condo board’s legal fees of $7500.
If you currently live in a condo and are considering getting a dog, it’s best to know the rules first. And if you’re considering buying a condo and you have a dog (or know you want one) your best resource is a knowledgeable agent who can make sure you find the right place in the right building.
If you have any compliments about wee Seamus pictured here, questions about pets and condo buildings or just want to chat about Toronto’s real estate market in general, get in touch!