Need to know
- Landlords can decide to allow pets or animals in a rental property.
- Condominium corporations can also have bylaws restricting pets or animals.
- Tenants must follow their landlord’s rules about pets or animals. If they live in a condominium, they must also follow condominium bylaws.
- Landlords and condominium corporations must accommodate tenants with qualified service or guide dogs. They may also have a duty to accommodate tenants with other support animals.
- Tenants should check what their leases say about pets.
- Tenants living in condominiums should also check what their bylaws say about any pet or animal restrictions.
- Before getting a pet, tenants should always get their landlord’s agreement in writing. Without a written agreement, they may not have protection from eviction.
- Tenants with qualified service or guide dogs should make sure that they can provide proof of certification (identification card that identifies them and their dog) to their landlord and/or condominium corporation.
First of all, landlords can limit whether pets or animals are allowed in their rental properties. They can also set rules on allowable types and number. A landlord does not need to give reasons for not allowing certain pets or animals. Landlords may also restrict the size of the animal. For example, landlords may allow small dogs, but not large ones. Landlords may also refuse to allow certain dog breeds.
Tenants should always check their leases to see what they agreed to with the landlord about pets. Those who do not follow rules about pets may be breaking their lease and face eviction.
Condominium corporations may have bylaws and rules restricting pets or animals in their complexes. Tenants renting condominiums must follow the Residential Tenancies Act, the Condominium Property Act and the condominium bylaws. Condominium corporations have the power to sanction and evict condominium residents who do not follow their bylaws about pets or animals.
Tenants living in condominiums should always check condominium bylaws and rules, plus their lease with their landlord. Even if their landlord allows them to have a pet, tenants may face eviction if they do not follow condominium bylaws or rules.
Service and guide dogs, support animals
Sometimes, tenants need the assistance and support of an animal. Under the Service Dogs Act and Blind Persons’ Rights Act in Alberta, landlords cannot discriminate against disabled and blind persons with a qualified service or guide dog. This is assuming that the person can control the dog’s behaviour. The Alberta Human Rights Act further protects the right of a disabled or blind person in using a service or guide dog. So, landlords and condominium corporation must accommodate disabled persons with a qualified service or guide dog. They may also have to accommodate tenants with other support animals. This depends on whether there is reliable medical evidence confirming the person’s disability and dependence on the animal.
To learn more, refer to Renting with Assistance and Support Animals.
To learn more about human rights, refer to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
Can landlords charge pet rent?
Maybe. This issue has not been determined by a judge in a written decision. Depending on the lease wording, it is possible that a tenant renting with a pet may pay more rent than a tenant renting without one.
Can landlords let some tenants have pets, but not others?
If the building is a pet friendly building, then the landlord must allow all tenants to have pets. But, the landlord can still set rules on the numbers and types of pets. If the building was pet friendly, but no longer is, then the landlord may refuse new pets in the building. They may allow animals living there under the old rules (also known as “grandfathering clauses”) to stay.
Can temporary pets or animals stay in a rental property?
Tenants who are thinking of having a pet stay temporarily with them should check their lease. To be certain, they should ask their landlord for permission.
Can tenants make alterations to a property for their pets?
Sometimes, tenants may want to make alterations to a rental property for their pets. For example, they may want to install a pet door. However, tenants should get their landlord’s permission before making any alterations. If they do not get their landlord’s permission, the landlord may consider the change to be damage beyond normal wear and tear. They may charge the tenant the cost of the alterations.
Can a landlord evict tenants with disruptive pets?
Under the Residential Tenancies Act, tenants are responsible for making sure that they do not interfere with the rights of others tenants. If a tenant’s pet is acting in a way that interferes significantly with the rights of the landlord or other tenants, the landlord may evict the tenant. The landlord may also be able to evict a tenant with a pet that puts others in danger.
If a tenant moves or gets evicted, can they leave their pet behind?
No, unless their landlord agrees to care for it. Otherwise, the tenant may be deemed to have abandoned the animal and caused it to be in distress — which is an offence under the Animal Protection Act.
Where can I report an animal that is in distress, neglected or abused?
If you suspect that an animal is in distress, neglected or abused, report it to the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) by calling 1-800-455-9003.
- Renting With A Pet Booklet
- Renting With Assistance & Support Animals
- Renting With A Pet Tipsheet
- Pet Agreement for Rental Properties (Sample Form)
- Pet Agreement for Rental Properties (Fillable Form)
- Pet Resume for Rental Properties (Sample)
- Renting with a Pet (Article)
- Service dogs in Alberta
- Law Society of Alberta Lawyer Directory
- Alberta Human Rights Commission
- Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) – call 1-800-455-9003 if you suspect an animal is in distress, neglected or abused