Buying a condo? Make sure your furry friend is welcome too!
If you’re looking to buy a condominium for you and your furry friend (or think you may want pets in the future), it’s important to know the rules about pet ownership before making an offer on any specific condo unit.
While some condos don’t allow pets at all, there are many pet-friendly condos in Alberta. But even these will have very specific bylaws governing pet ownership and the presence of pets on common property. No matter how big or small, furry, feathered, or scaled, caged or leashed, you need to know what bylaws could affect you and your pet before buying your new home. Restrictions vary greatly from condo to condo, often placing limits on the weight, size, and number of pets permitted in each unit, as well as the types of pets – not just cats and dogs. Oftentimes the allowance of pets is also subject to “approval of the board”, so if you find a condo you love, you’ll need to talk to the board of directors or property management company to ensure your pet will receive approval before making an offer to purchase.
You should also know that pet restrictions are not just limited to your individual unit. The bylaws will address where your pet is allowed to be on common property (including outdoor spaces, elevators, and stairwells), and if they are permitted to be leashed in your “yard” or balcony. They’ll also cover expectations regarding cleaning up after your pet and what might happen if there’s any damage to grass (a common occurrence for most dog-owners and a common complaint from other unit owners).
You’ll also be subject to noise restrictions, which include barking/meowing, etc., crying, or even running/playing in your unit if it affects the units around you.
Penalties for non-compliance of the bylaws vary but they can include heavy fines and threats of eviction, so knowing the rules before moving in is very important. Never rely on the word of the seller or the fact that the seller currently has pets in their unit as a green flag. While they’re likely well-intentioned, their pet could have been “grandfathered” in or the board might not even know they are there. You wouldn’t be happy if you moved in and later found out your pet is subject to board approval or there’s been a by-law change and your pet isn’t allowed.
If you’re looking to make an offer on your dream condo but not sure if your pet will be approved, your Realtor can help you include a condition that your offer is subject to the board’s approval of your pet – just be sure to get in touch with the board and/or property manager right away. Visiting the property to see how other pet owners enjoy the space or talking to potential neighbours will also give you a sense of how pets are received in that community and help you decide if that particular condo is the right fit for you both.
Written by CIR REALTY