Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson proposes more pet-friendly rentals

Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson plans to introduce a motion at a council meeting this month to bring comfort to tenants with pets. It resolves that “the City ask the Seniors Advisory Committee, the BC Apartment Owners and Managers Association, and the next Renters’ Roundtable to provide recommendations to Council on regulations that better enable tenants to keep pets in rental buildings”.

The province has authority to regulate in this area. Under the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords may prohibit pets or restrict the size of animals in rental housing.

The preamble to Stevenson’s motion notes that the Ontario government doesn’t allow landlords to ban pets. Instead, the Ontario legislation specifically states: “A provision in a tenancy agreement prohibiting the presence of animals in or about the residential complex is void.”

Stevenson’s motion points out that the vacancy rate in Vancouver has averaged 0.9 percent over the past 30 years, making it difficult for tenants with pets to find housing in the city.

Comments (22) Add New Comment
Tyler
This legislation is long overdue.
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Robercarter
Ridiculous ! Where are the people with athsma supposed to live ?! The west end is already full of pets. People. Please get a life.
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liliana feldman
The size of dogs should not be restricted as it is presently the case in subsidized housing. I would like to have a Siberian Husky and was told that it,s too big. I would really appreciate a support in the matter.
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Reality Check
Is Councillor Stevenson planning a return to provincial politics? Because that's where rental legislation resides. Unless the City is planning to buy rental units and become the landlord, they have no control over telling someone who their tenant can be.
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Bob
Can I start bringing my dog to restaurents, theatre, office, etc..?

There are many legitmate reasons for not allowing pet in a rental house such as:
1) damage from pet - what if the damage deposit does not cover the total repair cost? is the tenante obligated to pay?
2) allergy - enough said
3) landlord scare of dogs or cats - enough said
4) kids saftey - enough said
5) etc..

I understand the frustration but this is a choice. No one should be forced into anything...including the landlord for accepting pets.
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Meghan Boswell
Montreal has passed this legislation, it is very successful and inclusive for all people (and animals). Having a pet in a rental building does not mean that non pet owners will suffer any consequences. People suffering from allergies and asthma (like myself) have trouble living in a building with carpet in general. Non carpeted apartments will not retain any dander from previous tenants.

Please open your minds and think for a second please about how positive this can be for the tenants as well as the landlords, there are direct benefits-- some are cited in the BC SPCA's website. http://www.spca.bc.ca/welfare/campaign-issues/pets-in-rental-housing.html

As far as bringing pets into restaurants, offices and theaters I would love this person to research it a little further. In Europe pets are welcome at restaurants, and many offices are allowing their employees to bring their dogs to work. Getting some love from your canine coworker during the day is a very helpful in breaking up your work day. Your furry co-worker will dictate break times and even much needed time away from your computer screen for quick bathroom breaks outside. Not to mention the stress relief that comes from a quick cuddle.

There is something to be said for living in harmony...
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dexter mac
another one of his stupid ideas..get a life tim and get a real job.quit wastingtax payers money.
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Save Vancouver
Congrats Councillor Stevenson, this will be a great way to remove thousands of affordable basement suites from the rental pool. Homeowners will love city hall telling them they'll have to accept a barking dog living below them.
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Bob
Meghan, I'll address your points one at time:

1) there are many kinds of allergies..including pet/fur allergies. just because you, yourself, can cope with living in a building with carpet doesn't mean you have to subject someone with pet/fur allergies to live with animals.

2) yes, I agree there many positive aspect of owning a pet. I KNOW, I owe a dog! however I'm also not selfish. CHOICE is for everyone. you have a choice to NOT live in a non-pet friendly building and landlords also have a choice to NOT allow pets into their building. pet owners also have a choice to NOT owe a pet. CHOICES are great. if you have problem finding a place that will accept pets then you have to make choices and find alternatives, DON'T force other people to do something they don't want to do.

3) of course there are places in the world that allows pets in restaurants, offices and theatres. if you look hard enough there are always exception to the norm. i ask you and other readers this, does your local town/city allow this? does your employer allow this? creating a policy for an exception is illogical.

my main point is not whether having pets in a building is good or bad.

my main point is that everyone deserve a choice, nobody should be forced (legislated) into anything.
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Claudia
I am a senior citizen who has no family at all. My 11 year old cat is my companion and my family. As a renter in the city of Vancouver it's almost impossible to find a decent place to live. Thank you so much Mr. Stevenson for your effort. A pet brings joy and calm. Why are so many landlords in this city opposed to others having a pet/companion????
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Brian Mairs
I would let pets into our apartment building on three conditions:

1. The provincial legislation would have to be changed so we could collect a $5,000 deposit *PER ANIMAL* - in a bank draft - to cover the average costs of damage caused by pets. If you want your pet in an apartment, are you willing to put up $5000 in CASH prior to moving in to cover potential damage? GREAT!
NO BUCKS? NO PETS!

2. "PET" would have to be clearly defined as domestic cats, and domestic dogs. No snakes, iguanas, tigers, horses, wolves, bears, etc. Don't laugh, apartment managers have been asked about all of these 'pets' at one time or another.

3. MAXIMUM ONE animal per bedroom. You have two cats, you need to pay for a two bedroom apartment.
So... if you have two cats (or dogs, or one of each), you need to rent a two bedroom apartment AND provide guaranteed funds of $10,000 that is held in trust until after you leave, to cover any and all damage caused to your apartment.

Currently, the Rental Tenancy Act only allows for a maximum damage deposit of 50% of the first month's rent and a pet damage deposit of 50% of the first month's rent. A far cry from the amount paid to replace carpets, fix walls, repaint, and the loss of rental income while all the work is being done.

We have a NO PET policy. Earlier this year somebody sneaked an animal into their unit and it was not discovered until they vacated the premises, and we had to replace all of the flooring and repair six of the walls and we were unable to rent the apartment for a week while the work was being done - damage of $5,000.

Change the provincial legislation, and we will talk more about it.
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Brad
Nobody should be for this idea no matter what you think about the issue because it’s the city taking away the rights of some for the rights of others. It’s wrong to let the city have this much control over us. These landlords should have the right to allow pets or not, and what about people who don’t want to live in a pet friendly building, their rights will be ignored.
I like the idea that it is difficult for people to own dogs in the city because it makes people stop and think about what it means to own a dog and how it’s going to affect their life, unfortunately when faced with this decision some people forget to think about how this will affect the dog’s life. Most dogs (depending on breed and size) don’t belong in the city; they need a yard, acreage or farm. I live on Comox St not one block from the dog park and day and night the dog owners in the surrounding buildings walk out their front door and stand there while their dog goes to the bathroom on a tiny plot of grass and then retreat back inside. Now responsible dog owners stay with me here, I’m not taking about you; I see you in the park exercising your dogs and doing the right thing but let’s agree on one thing, the welfare of a lot of city dogs is poor, even cruel. If you work full time and don’t have a yard I believe it’s selfish to own a dog in the city because most dogs if they could would run and play ALL day and only a small population utilize the various doggie day care or dog walkers in the city.
There isn’t a square inch of grass downtown that we can walk across or let the kids play on without getting dog feces or pee on us. Some strata buildings downtown are even trying to take out the grass in front of their buildings and replace it with concrete because they are sick of picking up after dogs (again we know this isn’t all dog owners) but it’s still a sad reality and the city won’t let them.
Whether you agree with my above statements or not, can we all agree that everyone should have the right to choose, landlords should have the right to allow pets or not and tenants should have the right to live in a pet friendly building or a building that prohibits pets . And can we all agree that most dogs if they could would run and play all day and it’s up to us to ensure they have this freedom.
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Tim Stevenson: Fierce Defender of Justice and Equality for Dogs
What a useless twit. Stevenson really does have nothing better to do.
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Meghan Boswell
Bob, I would like to respond to your post in point form as well.

1) Allergies, the person with the allergies would not be living WITH said pet... they would be living with a wall between them. If someones allergies are so bad that they can not walk past a pet then that is something that would be difficult to live with in any situation regardless of where they live.

2) The reason that Mr. Stevenson is proposing this legislation is because of Vancouver's low rental vacancy rate, it is very difficult to find an affordable place to rent and almost impossible to find one that is pet friendly. I agree, choices are great! However pet owners have very little choices.

3) My employer does allow us to bring our pets to work. They see the value in having these animals at work. Honestly I'm not sure what you were getting at with the rest of this point...

My main point is that landlords have problems with irresponsible pet owners, not pets in general. Those who are responsible should not be punished for choosing to include a pet in their family.

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Laura
Meghan,
I can tell you, as one of the people with severe allergies, it is extremely difficult to find a place to live that doesn't have animal dander (allergen) in it.
It's because people sneak pets into no-pet buildings.
Also the dander lasts for years. There will be dander in the ventilation system. Anything with a fan in it - microwave, fridge, heater, etc. will have dander in it.
I can't be in a BUILDING where a dog or cat has lived. If someone sneaks a pet into one apartment in a no-pets apartment complex I would get sick. The dander travels anywhere that air travels.
It seems that people with pets find no-pets policies offensive and silly, so they violate the policy without compunction. They think they're being unfairly punished for other irresponsible pet owners so the no-pets policy shouldn't apply to them.
There's so much pressure to allow pets EVERYWHERE, there's no place allergic people can go to be away from them.
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Barry P
Thank you Tim....And for the record, bad renters cause more problems than pets do.
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Gail M
A house is not a home without a dog.
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ND
My husband and I are Landlords of two rental homes with 'no pet' policy. We follow the Residential Tenancy Act and view each suite about 3 times a year and still people sneak in pets! We are in the process of bringing in a restoration company to remove urinated drywall, carpet & underlay, paint the urinated wood floor with kills to lock in the odour before re carpeting. This will cost us about $5,000. Who pays for it? We do! If you don't remove everything the cat has urinated on you don't get rid of the odour. We work very hard to provide clean well maintained homes for our tenants, we treat them the way we would want to be treated.

So, responsible pet owners, what would you do in this case? What do you think we should do?
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stephen
HONESTLY, when you look at the available places to live when you have a dog and its less than 5% of the listings, THERE IS A PROBLEM. For crying out loud, all these people with allergies... every god damn apartment in Vancouver is pet free. SHARE. I didn't know you had to be a homeowner to have a pet in this country.
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Sean
To Brian Mairs and "ND" and any other landlord on here complaining that tenants sneak pets in and cost them $5000 per unit to fix.

Shake your head. Your no pet policy is the reason for the problem. By having this policy you are outright denying honest pet owners... you know, the ones that would never dream of having to sneak their pet in unwelcome space. So you deny these tenants and then lump them into the group of irresponsible tenants you've filtered into your suite. Your policy by nature is detracting the type of people you're looking for. Don't complain about the liars you've left yourself with. Don't want damage? Then WELCOME the honest dog owner who tell you up front. He will also be the honest tenant who leaves without damage.

As for the guy who said city should have no control over telling someone who their tenant can be. I guess my landlord can ban Asians again then. And watch out women with noisy newborns, you will soon be justly evicted. While were at it lets let landlords discriminate against those clunky wheelchair'd people. City shouldn't be able to do a thing!
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