It goes without saying that for many renters in B.C.—especially those in Vancouver or Victoria—finding an apartment is hard. And it’s harder still when you’re trying to find a place that will accommodate pets.
To try and remedy the situation, the BC SPCA is asking the public to submit feedback to the Rental Housing Task Force asking that it make pet-friendly housing a priority.
1,700 animals are separated from their families each year in B.C. due to the lack of pet-friendly housing, according to the SPCA.
A search of rental units available in June 2018 in the Vancouver area showed only 304 available two-bedroom units, 55 of which were cat-friendly and 52 were dog-friendly.
In written correspondence to the Rental Housing Task Force, SPCA manager of public policy and outreach Amy Morris said that “pets serve as loyal companions to many responsible owners across the province, and should not be a luxury restricted only to those fortunate to own a home.”
“Relinquishing a beloved pet due to housing is a traumatic experience for any responsible pet owner, and this ordeal should be avoided whenever possible,” she added.
The Residential Tenancy Act currently allows landlords to include conditions in their tenancy agreements that prohibit the type and size of pets allowed on a property, if they’re allowed at all. The SPCA has recommended that section of the act should be repealed.
It also recommended that the Task Force maintains landlords’ rights to request a pet damage deposit at the start of a tenancy, and that it encourages landlords to discuss liability insurance with pet-owning tenants.
“The BC SPCA believes this recommendation represents a balanced response to improve protections for pet-owning tenants in British Columbia, while maintaining continued respect for landlords and their rental properties,” Morris said.
The provincial government is soliciting feedback from the public until July 6. Feedback can be submitted online.