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Ask the Lawyer: service dog in condo that allows no pets?

Reader Question

“My wife and I are living in the condo in Thornhill. Our condo rules are — no pets. My wife is suffering from the mood disorder illness. Her doctor/therapist suggested to take a small service dog to help with my wife’s illness.”

Reader continues: “I have couple of questions 1. How should I approach BOD with this issues? 2. Would note from the doctor/therapist is sufficient for this purpose or we need something more official? 3. Is there a regulation or a law dealing with this issue in case BOD will start causing problems? Thanks in advance.”

Richard Hoffman’s full answer is below. Please also refer to this related question from three other readers concerned with service dogs in a condominium:

Ask the Lawyer: 3 Readers worried about their service dogs in condominium communities prohibiting dogs

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Lawyer Richard Hoffman Answers

Despite the fact that the condominium has a no pet rule, I think there will be an exception made for any dog that is considered to be a service dog. If you can provide a letter from a doctor advising that the owner requires the use of a service dog, the board will not have an issue allowing a service dog in the unit.  It would be the same as if anybody required a seeing eye dog.

RICHARD P. HOFFMAN

Richard Hoffman is a member of DelZotto, Zorzi LLP, since 1992, practicing in the area of condominium law.

Richard Hoffman has been a member of DelZotto, Zorzi LLP since 1992, practicing in the area of condominium law. He has represented condominium corporations and unit owners through all stages of the litigation process and at all levels of Ontario Courts (Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court and Court of Appeal). He is well experienced in handling all types of condominium litigation, from applications to enforcing compliance with declarations, by-laws or rules, to handling multi-million dollar claims for budget misrepresentation. He has also advised condominium corporations of various sizes on all facets of condominium law.

Richard is presently a member of the Canadian Condominium Institute and regularly lectures on contract and agency law in the condominium context at Humber College, as well, he is a regular contributor to various condominium magazines and has contributed to the condominium section of the Toronto Star.

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