Finding a Squamish rental is tough enough without making people choose between their furry companion and a roof over their heads.
It is time that the tenancy act in B.C. changes to match Ontario’s, where landlords can’t include ‘no pets’ policies in tenancy agreements or demand a pet security deposit.
As pet-friendly property manager Gord Adams told The Chief, in the decade he has been a Squamish property manager, rents in Squamish have more than doubled.
When he started, there was a lot of empty stock.
Apartments ranged from $650 to $850 depending on the number of bedrooms. Currently, a one bedroom unit starts at around $1,350 while three-bedroom units start at $1,900.
And, most would agree, those are relatively inexpensive apartments for Squamish today.
It is inhumane that on top of the lack of availability of rentals, the exorbitant cost of shelter, and the slim chance for many to become first-time homeowners in this town, they can’t have a dog or cat.
Charging a pet deposit that the landlord can deduct from for perceived damages, on top of hefty rents, is just throwing insult on injury.
We see from studies that pets help improve their owners’ mental health, especially for teens.
For some this past pandemic year, their pets were their only steady companion.
Pets can also be a matter of safety. A report out of Ottawa found pets were a factor for women escaping domestic violence. If she can’t run to pet-friendly accommodation, she may not go, in other words.
So, should landlords be forced to have a tenant with eight dogs, a cat, and five birds who climb the walls and defecate everywhere?
Of course not.
Pets OK BC advocates for removing the ‘no pets’ policy from the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) so that renters have a right to a pet in their home, “as long as they don’t negatively impact quiet enjoyment of others, which protects against allergies, excessive noise, and aggressive behaviour. Tenants who violate this provision risk eviction.”
Other places in the world, including Ontario, have systems in place that B.C. can copy to resolve pet disagreements.
We used to say it was OK to discriminate based on many things, such as children, but we have evolved. It is time to recognize the critical relationship folks have with their pets and drop the ‘no pets’ policy in B.C.
Let MLA Jordan Sturdy know this matters to you so that he can advocate for pet owners and their fur babies.