Pet Friendly Housing: Strata Council Guide

Special thanks to the BCSPCA for making their Pet Friendly Housing handbooks available for our adaptation and use in creating this webpage.

The Regina Humane Society (RHS) believes that if more unit owners in co-ops and condominiums were aware of the significant benefits of pet-friendly housing, they would be more inclined to allow it. Multi-unit or strata housing that welcomes all pets, regardless of breed or size, is extremely scarce in our community. Pet friendly properties often exclude certain breeds, and may set strict limits on a pet’s weight and size. We believe that people should never have to choose between their home and their pet and local sheltering organizations shouldn’t bear the burden of unfounded or overly restrictive pet policies.  While “pet friendly” policies are a good start, we would like to see these eventually evolve into “pets are welcome” policies, regardless of breed or size.

The decision to allow pets, and what types of pets, is a complex process with many players including property owners, managers, residents and co-op or condo boards. Many have accepted the industry definition of “pet friendly” and believe that restrictive or no pet policies are necessary for a safe, profitable property.

The RHS recognizes both the need for pet-friendly housing and for responsible pet owners who acknowledge the privilege of having pets in their homes. By working cooperatively to increase pet friendly housing options, we can increase the number of people who adopt and retain pets – and move one step closer to becoming a lifesaving community. This will stop the flow of animals being surrendered or abandoned due to housing related issues. To assist with this, we have created a toolkit to help strata councils prepare for residents who have or want to have pets, discuss options with them, and better understand the complexities of this issue.

Page Contents

  1. Pet-Friendly Housing Overview
  2. Sample Pet Policy
  3. Sample Pet Registration Form
  4. Letter to Strata
  5. Resources
  6. Download the Pet Friendly Housing: Strata Council Guide

1. Pet Friendly Housing Overview

The Problem

Each year in Canada it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of companion animals enter shelters. More than 1/3 of animals surrendered to shelters were surrendered due to housing issues including rental agreements, landlord conflicts, pet restrictions and moving. In Regina, approximately 20% of surrenders are due to these issues. These numbers do not account for the hundreds of pets, often cats, which are abandoned in the streets or left behind by their previous owners who were unable to find suitable pet-friendly housing.

Truly pet-friendly housing is considerably limited in Regina. Many landlords and strata (owner’s corporations) can choose whether they will permit pets. They can also restrict the sizes, kinds or number of pets. Pet friendly housing with restrictions can often be so limiting that it can exclude half of the pet population very easily. Pet guardians may also face heavy competition for housing due to low vacancy rates.

The Regina Humane Society frequently receives calls from frustrated condo owners or co-op residents unable to bring a pet into their home.  We recognize both the need for pet-friendly housing and for responsible residents who acknowledge the privilege of having pets in their homes. Many stratas are understandably nervous about allowing pet owners. After all, there are people who allow their pets to damage property, disturb neighbors and generally give pet-owning residents a bad name. But as it turns out, these residents are the exception. This resource will help multi-family housing groups to see that the overwhelming majority of pet owners are respectful of property and ensure their pets never become a nuisance – and they may be missing out on some really great neighbors!

Use the resources on these pages to prepare for residents who have or want to have pets, discuss options with them and better understand the complexities of this issue.

*Note: When dealing with any housing issue, seek professional legal assistance. The materials provided here are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.

Benefits of Pet Friendly Housing

Pet ownership continues to rise and so do the number of residents with pets. This means the pool of condo buyers who own pets is going to continue to increase and properties that arbitrarily restrict pet ownership will be missing out on the majority of highly qualified buyers.

Another direct benefit is increased security, as pet guardians are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood during late-night and early-morning dog walks. A dog often stays behind to protect the home when his or her guardian isn’t there.

Companion animals have even greater benefits to society at large. The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors that are essential to the health and well-being of both. This includes, but is not limited to, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals and the environment. Human-animal interactions also have profound physiological consequences including a decrease in blood pressure, reduced anxiety and a general sense of well-being. They assist children with development of language skills, empathy, responsibility and self-esteem. Studies have also shown that companion animals help reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety and stress. People in the presence of animals are often perceived to be more happy and healthy.


Strata councils volunteer their time to take on a sizable workload. In some cases, one animal guardian who is unaware or doesn’t care about fellow residents will cause conflict for all the residents, creating unnecessary repair costs or discomfort due to noise. Although there are owners who will not respect policies, a preventative approach can be taken to create a culture of respect before problems occur. The RHS has provided guidelines below that will help to mitigate this conflict and ensure all residents have peaceable enjoyment of their property.  Thank you for doing your part to realize the positive benefits of pets and ensure their place in your community!

Pet Restrictions

While many pet-friendly multi-family units are wonderful, some impose pet restrictions on breed and/or size which sometimes are not very “friendly”. Our goal is to change how the general public as a whole views restrictive pet policies and convince property owners that it’s not only in their financial interest to change, but in the community’s best interest as well.

For example, it is estimated that 50% of all owned dogs weigh more than 25 lbs., and the majority are mixed breeds. Typical breed and size restrictions can immediately exclude half of the dog-owning population from consideration as potential residents.

There is no scientific basis that any breed of dog is more “dangerous” or “aggressive” than another and policies that restrict dogs based on appearance do nothing to reduce bites or enhance safety.

There is no such thing as an “apartment-sized dog”. Some large dogs are quiet couch potatoes, while some small dogs are high energy and vocal. This makes size restrictions arbitrary and counter-productive. It makes more sense to make a decision based on each pet individually, based upon the pet’s energy level, exercise requirements, age and temperament. Larger pets don’t cause more damage, and in fact, pet owners do no more damage than those without pets.

A common myth is that allowing more than one pet will create problems. In some cases, a second pet may make life easier all around. Most companion animals are social beings and companionship is one of their highest priorities. A playmate helps to alleviate boredom and separation anxiety.

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2. Sample Pet Policy

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3. Sample Pet Registration Form

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4. Letter to Strata

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5. Resources

Office of Residential Tenancies (the ORT)
An office of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice that works to prevent and resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.
Regina: 120 – 2151 Scarth Street, Regina, SK S4P 2H8
Toll-free: 1-888-215-2222 (within Saskatchewan)

Information for Landlords and Tenants
A guide to the essentials of landlord and tenant legislation in the province.

Security Deposit
Answers basic questions about security deposits; the information is very similar to the Landlord and Tenant FAQs page.

Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA)
A legal education organization that provides guides on a number of topics, including housing.
PLEA’s online guide to rental housing in Saskatchewan; covers the topics of entering into residential rental agreements, rights and responsibilities, rent increases, ending a rental agreement, security deposits, resolving disputes and enforcing orders.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)
CMHC Saskatoon Office
Suite 200, 119, 4th Avenue S., Saskatoon, SK S7K 5X2
Phone: 306-975-4900
TTY: 1-800-309-3388
General inquiries call 1-800-668-2642 or email

Canadian Condominium Institute, South Saskatchewan Chapter
An independent organization that deals exclusively with condominium issues and represents all participants in the condominium community.

Canadian Condominium Institute, Northern Saskatchewan Chapter
An independent organization that deals exclusively with condominium issues and represents all participants in the condominium community.

Helpful Links

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6. Download the Pet Friendly Housing: Strata Council Guide

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