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Landlord to dogs: sit and stool

by Jennifer Paterson on 07 May 2015

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One Burnaby landlord is demanding that tenants provide stool samples for their pets or face immediate eviction, but tenants say their rights are being violated – which side is in the right?

Landlords agree that this strong-arm approach will likely fail the landlord. “Legally, it sounds like a sample can’t be forced,” said investor Mark Weidenborner. “However, if the guilty party is found then an eviction could possibly be carried out within the law."

The landlord sent out a letter this week to all 30 dog-owner tenants, providing significant detail about a canine caper that prompted the unusual request. “A tenant let his dog poop on the stairs, twice, and did not have the decency to clean up after his dog,” the letter read.

“This is unfair to Management and even more to the other tenants. The good news is that the technology exists and the dog can be identified.”

The landlord intends to hire PooPrints to match its dog tenants’ DNA and identify the guilty pooch, which would result in the immediate eviction of the tenant, but tenants are standing strong, calling the request an “invasion of privacy.”

Lisa Mackie, a residential tenancy lawyer in B.C. told CREW that it is quite common in pet-friendly buildings for the tenancy agreement to include additional clauses that regulate a tenant's responsibility to clean up after their pet.

“In the event that such clauses are breached and the tenant does not correct the offending situation within a reasonable period of time, the tenant could face a one-month notice to end tenancy," she added.

“But the [B.C. Residential Tenancy] Act does not go as far as to authorize an eviction for failing to assist a landlord in ‘sniffing out’ the offending pet, or proving that the breach occurred. That burden rests entirely with the landlord.”

Two experienced landlords both suggested a video surveillance system be put in place to capture the culprit. “I don’t understand why this was the course of action decided by the landlord," said investor Brad Cartier.

"It’s on their property in the stairwell; they could just as easily have installed a security camera.”

Weidenborner added: "Rather than pay for many samples to be tested, I would suggest investing in a video surveillance system to monitor the public areas of the building. A video surveillance system is more likely to locate the guilty owner than a sample.”

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