Establishing Pet Policies for Your Strata

Posted on Wednesday January 21, 2015

The dog is at it again! Barking, running around the building, making a mess of the common garden, and even leaving waste around the building. Oh no, it’s your neighbour’s dog!


How do you address a pet problem with the potential to cause a rift amongst residents? Your strata council and property management company can help by establishing bylaws and rules to keep order within your strata. Here are some ways your council and property management company can resolve any pet-related issues:


Draft reasonable pet bylaws: Stratas are permitted to pass bylaws that limit or restrict the pets that can be kept at a property. For example, owners may pass bylaws that limit the number of pets that can be kept, the types of pets that be kept, the weight of pets, restrictions around pets in common areas (ex: requiring leashes), or also requiring pets to be registered with the strata council.


Any pet bylaws should be communicated clearly to residents; serve a defined purpose such as protecting the safety, comfort, and health, of residents; be reasonable; be enforced in a friendly, and fair way; and be communicated regularly so that residents are aware of any restrictions.


Enforce pet bylaws: Animal owners are typically considerate of the applicable bylaws. But there always are exceptions. So what do you do if a resident is violating your strata’s pet bylaws? With the assistance of your Strata Manager, a warning letter or violation and fine can be sent to the particular owner. It is possible that this owner may be new and unaware of the bylaws, or the violation could be an honest mistake. Sometimes even speaking with the particular owner, where appropriate, may be a helpful way to address any violations that may be occurring. 


Where possible, Council Members choose to speak with residents about their opinions on the current pet bylaws. Use general meetings as a forum to discuss this topic, create and distribute a survey to judge how residents feel about the new pet policies and their enforcement. Perhaps even form a pet committee, made up of pet owners and non-pet owners, so that bylaws can be discussed, reviewed, and enforced in an objective manner. When it comes down to the process for handling serious animal complaints, you may choose to consult your local animal control officials to ensure your process is similar to theirs.


There is a lot to consider when it comes developing the right pet policies for your strata. For more guidance on how to handle pet bylaws, contact FirstService Residential.

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