A Toronto condo wants to charge dog owners $15 a month, but is that legit?
Selectively choosing a group of people to fine is 'not enforceable,' lawyer says
A new rule forcing condo residents to pay a monthly fee for each dog they own to offset cleaning costs has some people crying foul.
"It's just unconscionable," said Gina Giorgetti, a dog walker whose clients live in the building. "Are we going to make them pay for children as well?"
A notice posted recently in the Quad Lofts at 23 Brant Street, near King Street West and Spadina Avenue, says the $15 fee, which will go into effect on May 2, is to pay for "additional spot cleaning, carpet cleaning and general maintenance" that condo management says is the result of dog owners not cleaning up after their pets.
"Unfortunately some dog owners are not taking responsibility for their dogs, and are allowing them to defecate and urinate on the common elements, and bring in extra debris without cleaning up after them," the notice reads.
Giorgetti says the building is small, and although she has seen "big wet spots outside of the elevators or in hallways," most people try to be good neighbours. She insists the offending parties are in the minority.
"I think that irresponsible dog owners should be penalized and responsible dog owners should not have to pay the fee — bottom line," she said.
Fee is 'not enforceable,' says lawyer
However, Toronto-based lawyer Audrey Loeb, an expert in condo law, says it does not appear to be a valid rule.
"In all my years I haven't seen a rule of this nature," Loeb told CBC Toronto, explaining that selectively choosing a group of people in a condo to levy a charge against is "not enforceable."
Loeb says communal living can be difficult, but fining everyone for the mistakes of a few is "not fair."
"I'm sympathetic to the corporation, don't get me wrong," she said, explaining that new amendments to the Condominium Act in Ontario have made finding owners who constantly break the rules "very challenging."
If owners are unhappy with the new rule, they have 30 days from the time the notice was posted to demand a meeting where they can challenge it.
CBC Toronto reached out to the condo management and the board but has yet to hear back.
Dog owner and downtown condo dweller John Spence thinks the monthly fee is "insane," especially because "we're already paying a hell of a lot of money every month in rent."
"To tack on 15 bucks a month for a dog seems like really nickel and diming," he told CBC Toronto.
"You don't charge extra for kids; you don't charge extra when you cook smelly food; you don't get charged extra for all sorts of things that would cause your neighbours to get a little concerned or cause extra wear on the building."
With files from Lisa Xing