Pet ban at 2 CityPlace condo buildings has residents howling

Two CityPlace buildings have shut the door on any new pets — a move that's not only raised the hackles of some residents, it's also raised questions about whether the condo board actually has the authority to do it.

A real estate lawyer says he isn't sure if the new ban is 'enforceable'

A sign prohibiting pets from going on the grass in the CityPlace complex. Two condo building in the development have moved to ban new pets, in spite of an outcry from some residents. (Kate McGillivray/CBC)

Two CityPlace buildings have shut the door on any new pets — a move that's not only raised the hackles of some residents, it's also raised questions about whether the condo board actually has the authority to do it. 

The condo board responsible for 3 Navy Wharf Ct.and 5 Mariner Terrace passed the ban Thursday, despite an outcry from pet owners who live there.

"It totally crushed me. I was like, 'Why would they even propose this?'" said Stan Liu while walking his dog Max.

Liu believes the board tried to sneak the ban past owners by burying the new rule in a 17-page package with several other mundane changes.

Some residents, like Shirin Dason, moved into one of the buildings specifically because they were dog-friendly.

"We actually only looked at condos that would allow dogs," she said.

Her shih tzu, Olive, is allowed to stay — the rule will only ban new pets from being brought in.

Leading up to the rule change, the condo board wrote to residents, saying it was bringing the ban in after numerous pet-related complaints.

Is it allowed?

Complaints or not, condo and real estate lawyer Gerry Miller said he isn't sure if the condo board's new ban will be enforceable.

He said that it all comes down to the condo building's original rules, called the condo declaration, which was written when the buildings were constructed.

"Let's say you have a declaration that permits one cat and one dog — that's typically what it says — [this new rule] that totally prohibits pets could very well be unenforceable, provided an owner takes the board of directors to task for it."  

In a section of the building's declaration, obtained by the CBC, there were no prohibitions on pets.

Miller said that a declaration can only be changed if 80 per cent of condo owners agree to it, something residents said they were never asked about.

'Everything is in the fine print'

Kirti Shetty is the resident who first noticed the new rule in the 17-page document given to people in the buildings.

"Unlike most people, I work in a bank so I actually read things, because everything's in the fine print," he said.

Shetty says he doesn't think the ban is fair, and made an effort to bring about an owners' meeting where they would vote on it.

Though that effort failed, he said that he thinks any kind of legal action should be their last resort.

He said he wants to do what the condo board didn't, and have a conversation with owners and residents about a compromise.

With files from Chris Glover and Kate McGillivray