Can I have a pet in my new home?

“Can I bring my (dogs/cats/lizards/emus) to my new home.” is a phone call I get on a weekly basis by Purchasers who want to ensure the furry, fuzzy, and scaly members of their family are welcome in their new home.

Generally there are three sources of law that can impose limitations on the right of a home owner to have domestic pets at their premises. Owners who want to ensure that their pet is permitted in the new home should check the following:

  1. City of Kelowna Zoning and Local Government Bylaws
  2. Statutory Building Schemes and Restrictive Covenants
  3. Strata Bylaws

Local Government Bylaws

The Regional District of Central Okanagan administers dog control and barking bylaws within most areas of the Central Okanagan (RDCO dog control information here). Dog Control Bylaw No.366 limits to a maximum of only 2 dogs allowed per premises, a special kennel license is required for three or more dogs (note: a dog kennel (3 or more dogs) may also require a business license and property zoning must be sufficient – see City of Kelowna Zoning Information here) .

Statutory Building Schemes and Covenants

Statutory Building Scheme and Covenants are land title charges which limit an owners use of the property. Some of these charges will common place limits on the the pets that can be kept on the property. For example most older residential building scheme (common found in Kelowna properties built in the 1970s and 1980s in Glenrosa and Rutland) state that “no more than 2 domestic dogs or cats and no horses, cattle, swine, sheep, or other livestock can be situated on the property”. It is advisable to discuss these matter with your real estate lawyer who can review your land title with you.

Strata Rules and Bylaws on Pets

Buyers with pets who are considering buying into a strata corporation, should ensure they are intimately familiar with the strata rules and bylaws which may limit a Buyer’s ability to keep a pet. Buyers should review these documents carefully as these documents not usually reviewed by lawyers or Realtor (unless they are specifically engaged to).

If a Strata Corporation is using the standard bylaws (and has not amended them), a strata owner 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

Strata Corporations can amend these standard bylaws and can restrict: the number of pets, the type, kind, breed or weight of pets, or require the pet to be registered with the Strata Corporation.  The pets which exist at the time the bylaw is passed may continue to live in that strata unit until the pet’s death (they are grandfathered under the old rules).

Written by Peter Borszcz, a Kelowna Real Estate Lawyer and Kelowna Business Lawyer. 

apartment dogs