When looking for a new house, purchasers search for the perfect home for all members of the family – including their pets. Accordingly, it is important that the purchaser do their due diligence to confirm that their prospective property permits their pets to occupy the property. In this article we will highlight a few pet-related items to look into when conducting due diligence on a prospective property.
If purchasing a strata property (whether a traditional condo-style strata, townhome, bare land strata or stratified duplex), the purchaser will be subject to the strata corporation’s bylaws. The bylaws may restrict the size, weight, type/breed or number of pets permitted to occupy the strata property. If the strata corporation has not filed bylaws with the Land Title Office, the standard bylaws found in the Strata Property Act (the “Schedule of Standard Bylaws”) will apply. Please note that the standard bylaws include pet restrictions. Please see section 3(2)(c) of the Schedule of Standard Bylaws which may be found at: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/98043_18#ScheduleofStandardBylaws
An owner of a strata lot who contravenes a bylaw put in place by the strata corporation will likely face penalties for each contravention. The amount of the penalty will be set by the strata corporation and usually ranges between $50 to $200 per contravention and can often be applied every 5 – 7 days.
When reviewing the property disclosure statement, the seller will indicate whether or not pet restrictions apply. However, we strongly recommend that the purchasers review the strata bylaws themselves to ensure that the seller is not mistaken and to verify the terms of any restrictions (note that it is important to ensure the purchaser has a current set of bylaws with any amendments that have been made).
Statutory Building Schemes:
Statutory building schemes (“SBS”) are generally in place to maintain the consistency and character of a particular neighbourhood and are typically put in place at the time of the development. SBSs often impose restrictions on the use and appearance of the properties affected by the SBS. If the prospective property is subject to a SBS, it will be listed under the “Charges, Liens and Interests” heading on the property’s State of Title Certificate or title search from the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia.
The details of the SBS may only be accessed by requesting the instrument from the Land Title Office and reviewing same. A SBS may, for example, expressly prohibit pets or place restrictions on the type/breed or number of pets permitted to be kept on the property. A SBS may also prohibit fencing, artificial turf or dog runs.
Provided that the SBS has not expired, the terms of the SBS may be enforced by the original developer or any other owner whose property is subject to the same SBS bringing a civil claim against the purchaser if they contravene the terms of the SBS.
Each municipality will also have restrictions on the type and number of pets, as well as licensing requirements. We recommend that a purchaser familiarize themselves with these restrictions as well to ensure they are not setting themselves up to be offside the applicable bylaws.
We recommend that each offer for the purchase of property contain the following condition precedents (commonly known as “subjects”): review and approval of a title search and property disclosure statement completed by the seller and strata documents, if applicable. We strongly recommend that the purchaser complete their due diligence be done before removing these subjects.
If you have any questions regarding the above, or are wondering if your prospective property is subject to any restrictions on pets, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law. We would be happy to review the property disclosure statement, bylaws and title search without any additional charge – the review is included in our quoted fees!
Author: Danielle (Dani) Brito
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of real estate law at the following:Una Gabie: firstname.lastname@example.org Jennette Vopicka: email@example.com Danielle (Dani) Brito: firstname.lastname@example.org Jane Otterstrom: email@example.com