Landlord101: Investment Property Basics
No pets, no smoking
As a landlord, you are allowed to put “No pets” and “No smoking” clauses into your lease agreement. “No pets” clauses in a tenancy agreement are technically void, as is goes against the Residential Tenancies Act in Ontario, and there is little that can be done if a tenant indicates they have no pets, and then moves in with a dog or a cat. The only way to evict a tenant that is a pet owner is to prove that the animal is dangerous, or is damaging property. In some agreements, if the pet is disturbing other tenants (i.e., barking all day while the owner is away) to the point of affecting their daily lives, the tenant with the disturbing pet may be evicted. However, if they do indicate on the application that they have a pet before you accept their tenancy; you are allowed to turn down the prospective tenant on this basis.
It is important to be wary of persons bringing pets with them because of the potential damage they can cause to your tenant property. Cat urine, as an example, can raise a few health concerns on its own. Most of the time, cat urine is harmless, but if you are exposed to a lot at once the ammonia in it can cause respiratory problems such as an irritation or narrowing of the throat, runny nose, phlegm build up, headaches, and dizziness. Cat urine odour is also extremely difficult to remove from carpets in particular. A seeing eye dog is not a pet. If you deny someone tenancy because they have a seeing eye dog, you could find yourself dealing with a Human Rights Code violation.
While I would never assume every tenant is like this, it is safe to say that most have a different attitude about how well they take care of a rental versus how they would take care of their own place. Would you clean up cigarette tar and pet odours from every surface of your apartment if you knew you didn’t have to? If you are concerned about the clean-up of pet odours or cigarette stains, it is a good idea to put in a “No pets” and “No smoking” clause in your agreement.
What happens if a tenant tells you they don’t smoke, but when they move in they do or they have friend over that smoke? If the tenant tells you on the application that they do not smoke, but they really do, you can bring an application to the Board for eviction and say the tenant disturbs the reasonable enjoyment of the landlord. The best thing to do to prevent this from happening to your rental property is good tenant screenings. If you can financially, don’t be afraid to wait an extra month for a good tenant to come along. If they aren’t right, they aren’t right. You will be thankful you waited until you found just the right ones.