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Renting with pets in Alberta

This article summarizes some key laws related to renting with pets in the province of Alberta. We’ve used the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act and other publicly available legal resources to research this article. For example, the RTA Handbook published by Service Alberta. This article is only intended as an information resource and is not a substitute for qualified legal advice. Rental laws are always changing and you are responsible for researching the laws that apply to your unique situation. If you have legal questions or concerns, please contact a lawyer who specializes in rental laws in Alberta.

Pets and the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act

The Alberta Residential Tenancies Act does not mention pets. It is up to landlords to determine whether animals are allowed in the rental property and to ensure this information is included in the lease.

Can landlords refuse to rent to people with pets in Alberta?

Yes. Alberta landlords can outright refuse to rent to tenants with pets. The only exception is if a tenant requires a service dog due to a disability. This requirement is based on human rights legislation that prohibits discriminating against a person with a disability. The Alberta Service Animal Act overrules any provisions in a residential lease and only applies to dogs.

Can landlords refuse to rent to people with emotional support animals in Alberta?

Yes. Emotional support animals are not currently considered service animals in Alberta. There are some movements to change this, but for now Alberta landlords are within their rights to refuse tenants with emotional support animals.

Can landlords include a ‘no pets’ clause in the rental lease in Alberta?

Yes. Landlords in Alberta can insert a statement in the lease prohibiting pets. Alberta landlords who do allow pets can restrict the type, size, and number of pets a tenant may own.

Can my condominium board forbid pets in Alberta?

Yes. All condo buildings must be registered as either pro- or anti-pet, and once registered, that rule becomes an enforceable bylaw. The condo board is also entitled to restrict the types of pets allowed in a building. Tenants are bound by these bylaws regardless of whether their landlord allows pets, and the condo board has the power to fine or evict tenants for disobeying them.

Can landlords charge a non-refundable pet fee in Alberta?

Yes. Landlords can charge a non-refundable pet fee in Alberta. The non-refundable fee is separate from the security deposit. The landlord can only charge a fee that is reasonable and is a genuine expectation of damages that will occur. This means that the landlord should have a reason behind charging the amount that they are, and the amount must be reasonable. For example, if the landlord allows dogs, then the carpets in common areas will have to be cleaned more often. The non-refundable pet fee may go towards that expense.

Can landlords charge a refundable pet damage deposit in Alberta?

Kind of. Alberta landlords have been known to charge a pet ‘deposit’ which is really a pet fee that they have no intention of returning. Tenants and landlords should clarify in writing whether this money will be returned and on what conditions. There are no laws defining whether or not landlords can charge special pet security deposits, but the total deposit required by Alberta landlords cannot exceed one month’s rent. Therefore any pet deposit should be included in the total amount, with specific conditions on which it will be used to cover pet damage.

Can landlords charge ‘pet rent’ in Alberta?

Yes. Landlords in Alberta often charge more for tenants with pets than without.

Can Alberta landlords allow some tenants have pets, but not others?

If the building is pet friendly, then the landlord must allow all tenants to have pets. If the building was pet friendly, but no longer is, then the landlord can refuse to allow new pets in the building, but any animals that are living there under old leases can stay.

Can tenants be evicted for getting a pet in Alberta? 

Yes. If a lease states no pets and the tenant disregards this clause, the landlord can consider the tenant in breach of the agreement.

Can tenants in Alberta be evicted if their dog barks too much?

Yes. Under the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act, every tenant has the right to enjoy living in their property free from significant disturbance from other tenants and their landlord. If a tenants’ dog’s barking is bothering the other tenants, the landlord can evict them.

Can tenants temporarily pet sit in Alberta even if no pets are allowed?

It depends. It’s up to the landlord whether they are willing to make an exception.