Strata pet bylaws
Some strata corporations have pet bylaws that limit the number or type of pets or prohibit pets. Strata bylaws prohibiting or limiting pets do not apply to certified guide dogs and service dogs. As well, under B.C.'s human rights legislation there may be a duty to accommodate people with disabilities who require a therapy or companion animal.
Strata corporations can restrict owners, tenants and other occupants from keeping pets or certain kinds of pets through the bylaws of the strata corporation. The bylaws might do any of the following:
- ban pets
- limit the number of pets that can be kept
- provide restrictions on keeping pets, such as leashing them in common areas
- limit the kind of pets that can be kept, such as no dogs, or no dogs over 20 kilograms
- require pets to be registered with the strata council
Pet bylaws banning or limiting the number or type of pets cannot apply to certified guide or service dogs. Under B.C.'s Human Rights legislation strata corporations have a duty to accommodate designated classes of people including, people with disabilities who require service or companion animals.
Many strata corporations use the Standard Bylaws issued by the provincial government. Standard Bylaw 3(4) provides that an owner, tenant or occupant must not keep any pets on a strata lot other than one or more of the following:
- a reasonable number of fish or other small aquarium animals
- a reasonable number of small caged mammals
- up to two caged birds
- one dog or one cat
The Standard Bylaws also require owners, tenants, occupants and visitors to ensure that all animals are leashed or otherwise secured when on the common property or on land that is a common asset.
Strata corporations can amend or repeal Standard Bylaw Section 3(4) at any time by passing their own bylaw that deals with pets and filing the bylaw in the Land Title Office. Learn more in amending bylaws and rules.
There are legacy provisions for current pets. If a strata corporation creates a new pet bylaw that restricts the keeping of pets, pets that are living in a strata lot with an owner, tenant or occupant at the time that the bylaw is passed (i.e., not the date when the bylaw is filed in the Land Title Office) may continue to live in that strata lot.
The pets may not be replaced unless the new pet meets the requirements of the pet bylaw.
As of January 18, 2016, British Columbia’s Guide Dog and Service Dog Act (and corresponding supporting changes to the Strata Property Act) gives greater protection to certified guide and service dogs, including certified guide and service dogs in strata housing:
- Strata owners, occupants, tenants and visitors are able to have their certified guide dog or service dog on strata premises, regardless of strata bylaws or tenancy agreements banning or limiting pets.
- Certified retired guide dog or service dog can remain living with handlers in rental or strata properties, even if a new dog has been certified to take over its duties.
- Dogs being trained by a school that is accredited by Assistance Dogs International or the International Guide Dog Federation are eligible for dog-in-training certification. This allows access to public places for training purposes, when the dog is accompanied by a certified dog trainer. Please note that rental terms and strata bylaws that prohibit or restrict pets will still apply to certified dogs in training.
- Certified guide dogs and service dogs are not a specific breed or size – the focus of certification is on the dog’s training to support public safety.
- Protections under the Human Rights Code may still apply to uncertified dog and handler teams – strata corporations may wish to seek legal advice specific to their situations.
Learn more on the Ministry of Justice's webpages on guide and service dogs which has detailed information on:
- certification for service and guide dogs, retired service and guide dogs, and dogs-in-training
- legislation and policy
- fees, forms and processes
- questions and answers
Under British Columbia's Human Rights legislation, there is a duty for strata corporations and other service providers to accommodate designated classes including people with disabilities. The duty to accommodate may include allowing strata owners and residents to have therapy or companion animals.
The Human Rights Clinic also provides information for strata corporations on the duty to accommodate.
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The information on this website about strata housing is provided for the user’s convenience as a basic starting point; it is not a substitute for getting legal advice. Learn more about the site’s purpose and limits. The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: January 7, 2021.