A woman says she is being evicted from her rented condominium in west Edmonton because her dogs aren’t allowed even though her landlord knew about them when they signed a lease.
Christina Stephenson has two dogs, a 10-year-old yellow Labrador named Charlie, and Benson, a five-year-old Boston Terrier.
She’s had each since they were weaned. “Two brothers, different mothers,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson says her landlord was fully aware of the dogs when she moved into Mosaic Townhouses in March, and only notified her in June that the bylaws of the condo corporation only allow residents one pet which must weigh less than 20 pounds.
“Nothing in the lease we signed had anything to do with dogs or condo bylaws,” Stephenson said.
Stephenson says at first her landlord suggested she apply for permission to keep Benson and that she thought he might be able to arrange an exemption for Charlie too.
Then came the bad news: either Charlie would have to go, or they all would, or the condo board would begin levying a fine of $250 a day.
“I feel very defeated,” she said.
“We, in good faith, got permission to bring the dogs here and it wasn’t until the landlord presented the letter to us about the dogs that we knew there was a problem,” Stephenson said.
Having paid her first and last months’ rent plus damage deposit, Stephenson says she has no money left to sign another lease even if she could find somewhere that would take her and her dogs.
“I can’t afford a fine of $250 a day and I can’t lose my dog.”
Condo bylaws override any lease
Arvinder Alagh, who owns Stephenson’s unit and signed the lease, wasn’t available for comment, nor was a representative of the Mosaic condominium board.
The condominium corporation is managed by Pivotal Property Management.
John Wegner, one of Pivotal’s owners, confirmed Charlie doesn’t meet the pet regulations laid out in the condo corporation’s bylaws and was rejected by the condo board.
Wegner says the condo corporation has the power to impose fines on the owner of the condo unit, who can pass that on to Stephenson.
Wegner declined to show Go Public the bylaws of the Mosaic townhouses.
A spokesperson for the Alberta Government says the bylaws of the condominium corporation would override the lease Stephenson signed, though it might only be possible to view the bylaws using a land title search.
“It would be reasonable for the landlord to know what the bylaws are…and to make sure the lease agreement they are using complies with the bylaws of their condominium,” said Mike Berezowsky of Service Alberta.
“Our advice to landlords would be to make sure that your lease agreements comply with the bylaws of the condo,” Berezowsky said. “That way you can avoid some situations like this with your tenants and with the condo board.
Berezowsky says all condo corporation bylaws must be registered and can be viewed for $10 fee.
“If you’re a tenant and renting a condominium unit and are not sure about the situation, you can take that extra step.”
Stephenson hopes she can find another home before the condo board starts levying fines on December 10.