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Pets in Condos: Know the Rules Before You Buy

Posted by Vanessa Freeman on October 2, 2018

Pets in Condos: Know the Rules Before You Buy Featured ImageWhile there are already quite a few decisions to make when it comes to buying a new home, don't overlook those pertaining to your pets. If you're planning to buy a condo, you’ll be pleased to learn that many new condo developments around Edmonton are totally pet-friendly! BUT, you’ll still need to double check as this doesn't apply to all communities.

Every condo is governed by its own bylaws. In Alberta, section 32(1) of the Condominium Property Act allows condo boards to create bylaws to control, manage, and administer units and, for this reason, most condos have adopted bylaws specific to pets. Some condos might outright refuse to allow pets (maybe with the exception of a guide dog or service animal) while others may allow furry friends but with some restrictions.  

The good news is, the rules tend to be the same among most communities but the restrictions on the number, type and size of pets will vary. Failing to follow these bylaws can result in fines and (in severe cases) even eviction.

Here's an idea of what you can expect in terms of pet ownership before buying a condo.

Pets in Condos: Know the Rules Before You Buy Hamster ImageWhat Pets Am I Allowed? 

Cats and dogs are the most commonly accepted pets, but most condos also allow birds and small caged pets like mice, guinea pigs, and hamsters. Pets that tend to wander more freely, such as dogs and cats, will need to be licensed by the city. Townhomes and duplexes tend to be more lax about the types of animals allowed, whereas apartment-style condos can be more restrictive due to size, shared walls etc., but here again, you'll want to confirm. 

Are There Size Restrictions? 

There can be. While size restrictions may seem a little odd at first, there are a number of reasons why the condo board may enforce these types of rules. Other reasons might include waste concerns, potential damage to the building, and sound factors. For example, a St. Bernard living in an 800 square foot apartment will be more likely to disturb neighbours when it runs or barks than a chihuahua. In some cases, the size restriction will be set in stone, such as a maximum weight of 14 kilograms or around 30 pounds.

Sometimes bylaws use a more soft-handed approach to limit the size of pets, such as requiring that owners carry their pets downstairs rather than walking them (to prevent accidents in around common property). In this case, the animal is considered too large if the owner can't carry it. 

To get a better idea as to what type of pet might be perfect for your unique condo situation, check out this article on the Best and Worst Pets for Apartment Living.  

How Many Pets Can I Have? 

A limited number of pets per unit is common in most condo bylaws, although the number varies. In most cases, condo owners can't have more than two pets (for many of the reasons listed above under "size restrictions"), although exceptions might be made in the case of small caged animals like hamsters. 

Pets in Condos: Know the Rules Before You Buy Mom and Daughter ImageBoard Approval

Check the bylaws to find out if you are required to get board approval before bringing a pet home. Some condos have a standard clause that states owners cannot keep or allow pets in their unit or on common property without approval in writing.

This serves to protect everyone in the community by giving permission to responsible owners but revoking permission for pets to owners who haven't handled pets well and have allowed their pets to become a nuisance to others.

Other Restrictions

Condos may have other restrictions in place such as:

  • Pets must be neutered or spayed by 6 months of age
  • Dog owners may need to transport their dog out of the building in a specific way, such as using a staircase or lobby 
  • Restrictions as to where the pet may be exercised, such as a specifically designated pet area
  • Pet owners may be responsible for immediate clean-up after their pets
  • Pet owners will be responsible for damage their pets cause
  • Pets may not be a nuisance or create a disturbance. This includes exhibiting aggressive or dangerous behaviour, relieving themselves on floors of common areas, making noise or barking during specific hours or for a certain amount of time

There are plenty of dog and cat-loving condo owners in Edmonton and you will have no trouble finding a community that welcomes pets. If you are planning to buy a condo and you have a pet, or you want to get a pet in the future, just be sure you check the bylaws of your condo community first to understand your rights and responsibilities.

For more fun pet-related info, see our previous post "5 Ways to Make Your Condo Pet-Friendly".

Originally posted Oct 11, 2016, updated Oct 2, 2018.

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Photo credits: dog on leashhamster, mom and daughter
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Topics: tips & tricks, condo living