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Pet Policy in Markham Condo

01s0uljah

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#1
Hi All,

I've run into a little issue with my property management in a Markham Condo in which I purchased back in August of 2016 and received a letter yesterday stating that I've been breaching compliance with my pet in the common elements of my condo. They have a rule posted stating that all dogs must be small enough to be carried at all times in common elements including hallways and elevators. Now the issue is that my dog is about 55lbs and I have back issues that prevent me from carrying my dog the whole way and especially my girlfriend is 100lbs which makes it unreasonable for her to carry the dog. The letter has included pictures of myself on 3 occurrences of me walking my dog back to my unit as well as stating that the security has mentioned to me 3 times that I need to pick up my dog which I igonored (i told them she was too heavy for me to pick up)

Prior to signing the agreement of sale, I check the condo declaration and by-laws for any pet restictions and I could not find any in my status certificate. So I made the decision to close the deal. Property management has threatened to remove my pet as she is considered a "nuisance" and has also threatened that if there are any legal costs related to the removal of my pet that it would be billed under my condo maintenance fees. This is what the rules say pertaining to pets:

PERMITTED PETS
Residents are permitted two pets per suite,
but only of the following kinds:
• Canary, budgie or other small bird, kept in
a cage at all times.
• Hamster, gerbil, guinea pig, mouse or
rabbit, kept in a cage at all times.
• Turtle, kept in a closed container at all
times.
• Fresh or salt water fish aquarium.
• Small dog or cat (excluding pit bulls,
dobermans, mastiffs, rottweilers or any
similar guard-type dog).
Permitted dogs and cats also must be small
enough, in weight and size, to be carried
easily throughout all of the building’s
common elements. Any guide dog or serivce
animal is expressly permitted.
Any pet not in the above list—including
reptiles, rodents, livestock or fowl—is
prohibited.

PETS AS NUISANCE
Any pet deemed a nuisance by the Condo
Board or Property Manager must be removed,
permanently, from the building. Owners will
be given two weeks notice, at the end of
which their pet must be removed from the
building.
If a pet defecates, urinates, or sheds in any
part of the building’s common elements—
including hallways—and its owner fails to
immediately clean up the mess, that pet may
be deemed a nuisance.
Other nuisances caused by pets:
• Barking, growling or otherwise making
excessive noise that disturbs other
residents.
• Damaging common areas or resident
property.
• Causing unsanitary, dangerous or offensive
conditions, including strong odours.
• Chasing, jumping on or running after other
people.
• Attacking, biting, snapping, injuring or
threatening another person or pet.
• Grooming your pet in a common element or
failing to clean up after your pet has shed
in a common element.

All pets must be carried through interior
common elements—including hallways—or
otherwise kept on leash or in cage. Leashes
must be tight—retractable leashes are not
permitted.


I don't believe my pet has been deemed a nuisance as she has not breached ANY of the above. I've had nothing but compliments of my dog and her behaviour. Now the thing that I'm looking at carefully is that the last point states that:

"All pets must be carried through interior
common elements—including hallways—or
otherwise kept on leash or in cage. Leashes
must be tight—retractable leashes are not
permitted."

Doesn't this mean that either my dog needs to be carried OR put on a close leash? I don't feel like I've breached any of the above. Now speaking to the security this morning, he mentioned that they put the rule in on the last board meeting which I'm not aware of since I'm new here. Doesn't the board require a majority vote before they can implement this rule? Can they enforce this rule in court to have my pet removed? I've seen so many dogs in the same condo being walked and I feel as if 1 specific security guard has a vendetta against me as he's always given me attitude. The other security guards have actually showed me the reports he wrote up and it definitely sounds like he has something against me.

Please no smart comments like I should just move out or I should have checked more clearly before purchasing..

Thanks everyone!!
 

Skeezix

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#2
I agree with your interpretation of the final clause. It is either/or. The clause does not require that pets be carried exclusively. Being on a leash complies with the clause.

Someone with more knowledge of condo law could tell you whether the Board is entitled to pass such rules retroactively on existing owners.

Given the high risk to your dog here (property management, whether entitled to or not, could remove your pet), I would seek legal advice and I would asap get the lawyer to write a letter to the Board stating that you have not broken any rules and putting them on notice that you will assert your rights. I might also claim that their attempt to retroactively impose rules is violating your rights under s. 2(1) and 2(2) of the Ontario Human Rights Code (your back issues are a legitimate disability).
 

DSC

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#3
It is quite clear (to me anyway) that your dog needs to EITHER be carried OR on a leash.:

"All pets must be carried through interior common elements—including hallways—or otherwise kept on leash or in cage. Leashes must be tight—retractable leashes are not permitted."

I would write to Property Manger and copy Board President saying that you DO conform to the Rule. It makes no sense to demand a dog be carried and even if the Rule said you MUST do this (which it doesn't) you could likely get a 'health exemption". Insisting on pets being carried or on leashes is common as it avoids 'droppings' being left behind if owner is not paying attention ("Oh, I did not see Fido peeing") and also reduces possibility of a pet tripping or frightening or attacking another owner. Rules like this are very common - though yours seems terribly long!
 

01s0uljah

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#4
Thanks all! I'll get my supporting documents ready in the event they want to pursue this further. I've emailed them and physically dropped off a letter stating my concerns of the infractions they tried to put against me stating that my dog has not violated any of these rules. The only thing I'm worried about now is that they will enforce the "permitted pets" listed in the rules as my dog is mid-sized.

"Small dog or cat (excluding pit bulls,
dobermans, mastiffs, rottweilers or any
similar guard-type dog).
Permitted dogs and cats also must be small
enough, in weight and size, to be carried
easily throughout all of the building’s
common elements"

Its very vague about the size, my dog could be small for some people vs large for others. I really can't believe I have to deal with this, I understand they're just trying to do their job.. But going to this extent of threatening me is just plain dumb...
 

rbt

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#5
... I understand they're just trying to do their job..
Not just trying to, they're legally required to. If the corporation fails to enforce the rules on the books then other owners can sue it.

Confirm the rule you showed us is what the owners actually approved (ask management for the meeting minutes). If that is the wording, provide your interpretation (OR tightly leashed) and ask them to have the corporations lawyer to provide a judgement on why your interpretation doesn't match what's written.
 

01s0uljah

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#6
And I also forgot to mention they do have signs on all doors stating that the dog must be carried at all times.. However I'm going by the declaration, by-laws and condo brochure..
 

DSC

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#7
And I also forgot to mention they do have signs on all doors stating that the dog must be carried at all times.. However I'm going by the declaration, by-laws and condo brochure..
The Condo brochure is not worth the paper it is written on. The Rules (and maybe the Declaration) are what counts; a Board is, as noted above, obligated to enforce these documents.
I suspect that the Rule, if it is a Rule, saying pets MUST be carried would be declared unenforceable and you could easily claim a health exemption as long as you keep it on a leash. The purpose of such Rules is to ensure the owner is in full control of the animal and not some 'strength test' for owners!
 

tripwire

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#9
Why the carry rule in the first place? So that they don't dirty the floor? I understand unleashed as they might run off and bother another resident, but the carry only I don't get.
 

DSC

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#10
Why the carry rule in the first place? So that they don't dirty the floor? I understand unleashed as they might run off and bother another resident, but the carry only I don't get.
They do NOT have a 'carry only" rule - which would be stupid. See original question: their Rule apparently reads "All pets must be carried through interior common elements—including hallways—or otherwise kept on leash or in cage."
 

tripwire

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#11
Yes, I should've worded my comment as, "I don't understand why they want to enforce a carry-only rule." I can't imagine they don't realize their existing rules allows for carry or leash; more of them trying to push for carry-only.
 
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#12
Hi All,

I've run into a little issue with my property management in a Markham Condo ...

Prior to signing the agreement of sale, I check the condo declaration and by-laws for any pet restictions and I could not find any in my status certificate. ....

PERMITTED PETS

• Small dog or cat (excluding pit bulls,
dobermans, mastiffs, rottweilers or any
similar guard-type dog).
Permitted dogs and cats also must be small
enough, in weight and size, to be carried
easily throughout all of the building’s
common elements. Any guide dog or serivce
animal is expressly permitted.

All pets must be carried through interior
common elements—including hallways—or
otherwise kept on leash or in cage. Leashes
must be tight—retractable leashes are not
permitted.

....
First of all, please let me acknowledge the worry and anxiety that you must be feeling. I would be beside myself.

Next, I agree with the others that the leashing bit could well trump the carry bit, although they are contradictory. I mean, technically, if you're 6'6" and in good shape, a 55 pound dog is an easy carry.

But there is the human rights issue of imposing an unnecessary physical burden.

Also, if the declaration and bylaws put no restriction on pets then I would tell them to back off. They should have had it in the status certificate.

That said, the rules can be changed at any time just about and rather easily so be careful. They may end up eliminating the contradiction by next month.

My advice is, get a good condo lawyer (PM me and I can give you a name) and spend a few hundred bucks to shut this down before it escalates.
 

01s0uljah

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#13
First of all, please let me acknowledge the worry and anxiety that you must be feeling. I would be beside myself.

Next, I agree with the others that the leashing bit could well trump the carry bit, although they are contradictory. I mean, technically, if you're 6'6" and in good shape, a 55 pound dog is an easy carry.

But there is the human rights issue of imposing an unnecessary physical burden.

Also, if the declaration and bylaws put no restriction on pets then I would tell them to back off. They should have had it in the status certificate.

That said, the rules can be changed at any time just about and rather easily so be careful. They may end up eliminating the contradiction by next month.

My advice is, get a good condo lawyer (PM me and I can give you a name) and spend a few hundred bucks to shut this down before it escalates.

Thanks! Could you send me over your lawyer contact? I had this issue was put to bed as I agreed to put my dog on a wagon. This weekend I took her down the elevator without a wagon to get to my car and received a complaint. I'm expecting this issue to resurface again.

Thanks