With election day coming up, a petition is making its rounds calling on the future provincial government to rethink tenancy laws when it comes to “no-pet rules” in housing across B.C.
Pets OK B.C. Co-organizer Eliot Galan says too many people are being forced to surrender their pet companions.
Galan says the group is petitioning B.C.’s political parties to amend housing laws to make it pet-friendly.
“We’re asking them to remove the no pets clause from the Residents tenancy act, strata act, and mobile homes act.”
He wants landlords to be open minded, rather than just saying “no pets” off the bat.
“What we’re actually asking for is an individualized approach based on facts and what actually happens with the tenants.”
Galan says in order for landlords to say no, certain criteria should be met, such as causing allergic reactions, damage, or aggression.
He says as long as none of those issues are occurring, there shouldn’t be a reason why a person should be barred from renting or owning a home with an animal.
The B.C. SPCA says over 1,500 pets are surrendered due to a lack of available pet-friendly housing per year.
“No happy medium”
However, Landlord B.C. CEO David Hutniak says there is no possible way amendments could be made to the no-pets clause.
“We are in the business of providing housing for British Columbians, long term secure housing. That’s the focus, we really don’t see a whole lot of any flexibility on the position.”
He says that changing the laws isn’t an easy task when it comes to fellow tenants.
“There’s no happy medium with the notion of mandatory legislation. How can there be a happy medium? We have responsibilities to other tenants through the residential tenancy act to ensure they have safe secure housing and quiet enjoyment.”
Hutniak says at the end of the day, owners of homes or buildings have the right to decide as to whether they want to run a pet-friendly building or not.