Downtown Toronto condo wants to charge dog-owning residents $15 fee
The board of directors for a King Street West condo building want dog owners to pay a levied fee each month as part of a new “pet rule”.
Quad Lofts II, an 11-storey residential complex located in downtown Toronto between Brant Street, Spadina Avenue, Adelaide Street West and King Street West, told residents who own dogs they are expected to start paying an extra $15.
The levy begins May 2, according to a letter sent to them by their condo’s board of directors.
“’We are fortunate to have many pet owners in Quad II, and the Board of Directors understands the importance of pets in people’s lives,” the letter reads. “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 letter explains the board will be implementing the new pet rule, demanding any resident who owns a dog pay the additional monthly fee to subside “the additional spot cleaning, carpet cleaning and general maintenance which results from dog owners not cleaning up after their pet.”
The condo building is within walking distance of a dog park and the courtyard it shares with other buildings frequently sees dog owners coming and going with their pets. There is also a small garden located in front of the condo that has a sign posted in its soil to discourage pet owners from letting their dogs utilize the area as a bathroom. It features a picture of a dog that has been crossed out.
The building’s proposed charge would be automatically added to the dog owners’ pre-existing condo fees.
However, Audrey Loeb, a Toronto-based lawyer of condominium law, said this rule is simply not enforceable.
According to current condominium law, a targeted group of people in a condo cannot be chosen to levy charges against, she said. There is a process involved which gives the current condo residents 30 days after receiving news of the rule to demand a meeting where they can challenge it, she said.
The letter posted for condo residents mentions this process and cites it under Section 46 of the Condominium Act.
“[The board] has passed the rule and sent notice to the owners,” Loeb said. “The owners now have the right, 15 per cent of them, to requisition a meeting and vote the rule down.
“If they hold the meeting and the rule doesn’t get voted down, then the condominium corporation is going to try and collection fifteen dollars per unit from each dog owner,” she said.
Loeb assumes the unit owners will likely elect not to pay the proposed fee, at which point she said the condominium corporation will try and collect that money. If this is the case, either a court or an arbitrator, depending on how the process goes, will have to decide if the rule is enforceable and the money is actually payable, she said.
Jamie Leigh lives in a condo next door to Quad Lofts II and has witnessed negligent dog owner behaviour in her own building. She supports the proposed charge because she said she doesn’t believe dog owners are being held accountable for their pets’ messes.
“I hear neighbours complaining that the carpets need to be cleaned more on a bi-weekly basis,” Leigh said. “I’ve seen everything you would see in the dog park across the street on the shared hallway floors. I’m appalled how by how some people have not taken accountability for their animals and expect others to either clean up after them or ignore it.”
Leigh has not heard anything from her own condo about imposing a fee but her property manager has given residents many notices asking them to be more responsible for their animals.
“We live in the most beautiful country, in the most loving city,” she said. “We love our dogs, so let’s respect our neighbors and our homes.”