Tenants Speak Out and Share Their Concerns and Opinions on the Rental Industry
As part of our “Let’s Improve the British Columbia Rental Industry” we have invited landlords and tenants to share their opinions on how we can make these improvements. These opinions are from individual contributors and are not the opinions of the BC Landlords Association. We believe by fostering communication between landlords and tenants we can improve the BC rental industry. Landlords and tenants can share your thoughts and opinions by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BC Tenants Speak Out: We Need To Make “No Pets” Clauses Illegal in British Columbia!
I’m very happy to have a way to express my opinions as a Tenant in Alberta. Call me Ms. T, I’m a Tenant in Alberta. I moved here about five years ago to find a good job and lay down roots here. It’s been okay. I dislike the total lack of respect for the environment, total lack of animal rights, and a feeling that women are second class citizens. But overall my job is pretty good and the taxes are low. The biggest problem has been dealing with so many rotten landlords.
1.British Columbia is a diverse province full of parks, beaches and trails that are perfect for a day outside exploring with your dog. It also has many exciting off-leash dog parks and doggy beaches! Once you’re done exploring, return to your pet-friendly lodging for some relaxation with the pooch. Pets can stay in guest rooms with their families, but travellers should note that they usually cannot be left unattended in rooms. Pet-friendly accommodations in British Columbia include secluded cabins in the woods, luxurious waterfront cottages, family and budget-friendly motels, upscale hotels and resorts, and much more… and the whole family is welcome – pets included!
2.Pets OK BC is an initiative created by a broad coalition of citizens and nonprofit organizations from across British Columbia. Our primary goal is to strike down laws in BC that allow property owners to impose unfair “no pets” policies on tenants in rental housing, and that allow Strata Corporations to impose pet restrictions on owners of Strata properties.
The specifics: we are urging the government to repeal and replace Sections 18 (1) (2) and (3) of the Residential Tenancy Act [S.B.C. 2002, c.78], Sections 18 (1) and (2) of the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act [S.B.C. 2002, c.77], Section 123 (1) of the Strata Property Act [S.B.C. 1998, c. 43], and repeal Section 3(4) of the Schedule of Standard Bylaws in the Strata Property Act [S.B.C. 1998, c. 43]. Doing so would allow tenants (and in some cases, owners) of all of these types of properties to keep pets in their homes.
Under the current versions of these laws, many tenants and property owners with pets across the Province are subjected to blanket “no pets” policies and bylaws. These indiscriminate rules are based on common misconceptions about the law, about relationships between human and nonhuman companion animals, and/or about the data on tenancies, property, insurance, and the business of property management. Please see our FAQ page for more information about these misconceptions.
BC has a glaring lack of availability of pet friendly housing, amidst historically low vacancy rates overall. Because “no pets” policies can be imposed with impunity in rental agreements and strata bylaws across the province, many families, senior citizens, persons living with disabilities, and other individuals are forced to part with their nonhuman companions with alarming regularity. According to the BC SPCA, 1,774 animals were surrendered to their shelters because of “no pets” restrictions in 2016. That’s 5 per day, on average, and the number rises each year. And, that doesn’t include the hundreds of animals surrendered annually to the many other rescue organizations across BC.
The moral and legal precedent for this initiative is clear. In other jurisdictions in Canada and around the world, modern laws that prevent unreasonable “no pets” policies have been drafted, adopted, and proven to work, for decades. Ontario abolished “no pets” policies in rental housing in 1990. The world hasn’t ended in Ontario. Landlords in Ontario can still have pets who cause problems removed from their properties (for instance, if the pet is “making too much noise, damaging the unit, causing an allergic reaction to others, or is considered to be inherently dangerous”). This is a much fairer system than the one we have in BC, where “no pets” policies can be applied indiscriminately, which can result in unfair evictions and/or pet surrender to our overburdened animal shelters. We are long overdue for this change.
And people in BC want this change to happen, overwhelmingly. According to a poll commissioned by the BC SPCA in 2002 (McIntyre & Mustel), a majority of British Columbians agree with us that unreasonable “no pets” policies should be abolished.
We launched an online petition in 2015, which received over 14,000 verified signatures from BC residents in a few short months. On the strength of this confirmed mandate (and in part because the BC Legislature does not accept electronic petitions), we have pushed ahead to launch a formal petition to the BC Legislature to introduce these needed changes. We are also putting pressure on MLAs of all political stripes to assure their constituents that they support this initiative and will act on it. Given that housing accessibility and animal rights and welfare were both pivotal election issues in 2017, and given the massive outpouring of support we’ve seen for our campaign in recent months, it’s clear this is something our future representatives in Victoria can get behind. Some sitting MLAs have already extended support to this cause, and more politicians are expected to follow them soon.
3…………………..even Ontario landlords!
With low vacancy rates throughout British Columbia it’s important to encourage more people to become landlords.
When more good people are motivated to invest their hard earned savings into creating secondary suites in their homes or buying an investment condo it helps tenants. More landlords means more supply of high quality rental housing and gives tenants more options in finding a nice place to live.
We Need To Make “No Pets” Clauses Illegal in British Columbia!