Can landlords evict a tenant for possessing a firearm?

A landlord-tenant dispute in Pennsylvania last week resulted in one tenant being shot in the buttocks by his landlord. Another tenant, this one in Minnesota, was evicted by his landlord for keeping a loaded gun in the room he rents at a house with other tenants.

While the right to possess firearms is provided for in the U.S.’s Second Amendment, such a right is not spelled out in Canada’s Constitution, which begs the question: Do landlords have the right to penalize tenants for possessing a firearm?

“From my experience as a police officer and a landlord, a landlord has no rights to dictate if a person can have a firearm in their residence,” said Corry van Iersel, an investor and agent with The Vancor Group, Re/Max Real Estate Centre.  

“Landlords can only enforce landlord and tenant legislation, and while I'm not a lawyer or paralegal, I'm confident there's nothing a landlord can do to prevent a tenant from having a firearm, if they are doing it in accordance with the criminal code regulations.”  

A few years ago, Canada made it mandatory to have a gun safe in the home for storing firearms, which was on top of the trigger locks that had been previously mandated. “There are rules and regulations on how to keep firearm secured in your home,” added Todor Yordanov, an investor and sales representative at Right at Home Realty.

“I have never heard this to be a question or condition on rental properties or to be included in a lease. It is not something that a tenant must disclose. I do believe that most people who own firearms are responsible and take proper care of them.”

Like all potential bumps in the landlord-tenant relationship, if a tenant breaks the law then they can be evicted, added Van Iersel, “whether it be a firearm or drugs, or anything really.”

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