Petition calls for end to pet bans in B.C. rental buildings

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      For more than 20 years, Ontario tenants have been permitted to keep pets in their homes.

      But in B.C., the Residential Tenancy Act and the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act allow landlords to ban pets on their premises.

      Now, a group called Pets OK B.C. is circulating petitions to have sections in these acts replaced to allow tenants to keep pooches and other creatures.

      "Amidst historic low vacancy rates, many B.C. residents have very few options when it comes to seeking a place to live," the petition states. "Compounding this problem for residents who have pets is an additional problem: finding pet-friendly housing."

      The organization also wants a section dealing with pets repealed from the schedule of standard bylaws in the Strata Property Act.

      The shortage of buildings allowing pets has an unfortunate result: animals can be abandoned or turned over to shelters because tenants can't keep them in their homes.

      "The BC SPCA reports that 'no pets' policies are the leading reason for pet surrender," the petition notes.

      Vision Vancouver councillor Tim Stevenson has frequently raised concerns in the past about the inability of tenants to keep pets in the city.

      In 2013, he introduced a motion calling on “the City ask the Seniors Advisory Committee, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA), the British Columbia Apartment Owners and Managers Association (BCAOMA), and the Renters’ Roundtable to provide recommendations to Council on regulations that better enable tenants to keep pets in rental buildings”.

      The motion passed, with only NPA councillors George Affleck and Elizabeth Ball opposed.

      Landlord B.C. has claimed that outlawing pet bans in buildings could raise the cost of maintenance and create problems for some tenants, including those with allergies to animals.