Posts Tagged ‘Landlords BC’

BC Landlords Pet-Friendly Rental Housing Campaign

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

British Columbia Landlords pet campaign

BC Landlords Pet Campaign – Let’s Get Good Landlords and Good Tenants Working Together To Create Safe and Successful Pet Friendly Rental Properties in British Columbia!

We receive a lot of forum messages and emails from BC Landlords and Tenants. One of the most common topics is about pets.

On the one hand tenants says they are having hard times finding rental properties because they have a pet. They find many landlords get wary when they find out they will have their pet living with them. Some landlords will even refuse the tenant applicant outright.

On the other hand we also get tonnes of messages from BC landlords and their side of the issue. Many landlords say they are animal lovers and understand the importance of having pets. After all, many landlords have dogs, cats, fish, birds, etc. themselves.

The problem they face is they are small, residential landlords and not corporate landlords. This means they have limited budgets and worry about the costs involved in cleaning up after tenants who were irresponsible owners move out.

What’s the Solution for BC Landlords and Tenants with Pets?

The key is for all parties to work together with the shared goal of creating a great situation for everyone involved. In order to help do this it’s important to take a fact based approach that serves all members of the community.

In order to get these facts we contacted the BC SPCA. Their very helpful and informative Outreach Team provided some very useful information:

Question 1: Are companion animals often surrendered to the BC SPCA for housing related reason?

Unfortunately yes, we see a high number of animals surrendered every year because people cannot find a place to live with their companion animals.

Question 2: What type of numbers are we talking about?

The numbers fluctuate year to year, but on average 20% of our surrenders province wide cite problems relating to housing as the reason for surrendering. In 2015 we adopted out 15,811 animals, meaning approximately 3,100 of those animals were surrendered by their original guardians because they could not find a place to live that would take animals.

These situations are always heart breaking- no one should have to give up a family member because they cannot find pet-friendly living space.

Question 3: Can you share some general tips on what types of fair questions might be helpful for small landlords to ask when a potential pet owning tenant wants to rent from them?

Aside from general questions about the type of animal, age, and spay/ neuter status it is often good to ask about what kind of care plan they have in place for their animal.

-Does their dog go to daycare or do they have a dog walker that takes them out while the guardian is at work?

-What kind of exercise plan do they have for their animal?

-How regularly do they visit a veterinarian?

-Does their dog go to daycare or do they have a dog walker that takes them out while the guardian is at work?

-What kind of exercise plan do they have for their animal?

-What kind of enrichment items or activities do you have at home to keep their animal occupied while they are out?

Getting answers to these kinds of questions can give the landlord a better idea of how responsible the guardian is, and what type of behaviour they can expect from the animal.

A well socialized, entertained, exercised animal will usually express less troublesome behaviour than one who is not.

Question 4: Landlords are often worried about responsible grooming habits for pets.  What are some fair and helpful questions a landlord might ask that could help them feel more comfortable with this worry?

Questions about nail trimming for cats & dogs is a good to ask as there is sometimes a concern about scratching floors or furniture.

Having regular nail trimmings, and scratching toys can reduce the risk of that kind of damage- however it is fair to note that scratched floors can happen by pushing a chair back from a table, or wearing shoes indoors just as easily.

A FIREPAW study found that “there is no statistically significant damage between tenants with pets and tenants without pets”.

On average FIREPAW found that “tenants with pets in pet-friendly housing stay an average for 46 months compared to 18 months for tenants residing in rentals prohibiting pets”.

For a landlord this means less lost income looking for tenants, and less hassle arranging for move outs/ins, cleaning, advertising, and interviewing new tenants.

Question 5: We read about the idea of pet resume.  Could you tell us how that works and how it can be helpful for both small landlords and tenants?

The BC SPCA has a sample pet resume available online that we encourage potential tenants to use when looking for housing.

We find that many landlords are hesitant renting to tenants with animals simply because they do not know what the animal will be like; a pet resume that clearly outlines the personality of the animal, any training and experience the animal has had, and what kind of health and grooming considerations he/she may have can alleviate the fear of the unknown.

It gives a great snapshot of what to expect from the animal- just like an interview assists a landlord in knowing what to expect of the tenant.

Question 6: Do you have any general tips to help pet loving landlords encourage other landlords to be open about renting to tenants with pets?

Focus on the benefits of having pet friendly rentals: longer tenancy, alleviating the problem of homeless animals and potential for higher rental income (pet guardians tend to be willing to pay more for a pet-friendly space).

The greatest impact for changing someone’s mind is to focus on the positive results of a choice, instead of just trying to dispel myths.

Question 7: Does the BC SPCA have any workshops or events to help landlords learn to be good ‘pet friendly’ landlords?

We do not have anything at the moment, however please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions and we will be happy to accommodate.

BC Landlords and Pets

We again want to thank the very helpful BC SPCA Outreach team for their advice and information.

The reality is there are a lot of tenants out there who have pets and it’s a terrific market for small residential landlords.

Tenants should know the financial concerns that small, residential landlords face.

By understanding each other, both landlords and tenants (and their pets) can find nice, safe homes.

Fire Safety Campaign To Help BC Landlords!

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

fire safety campaign

We Want Every Private Residential Landlord in BC To Make Sure Your Rental Property is “Fire Safe” to Protect Your Tenants!

BC landlords know the importance of renting out nice rental units. After all, if you were a tenant you would want to rent a nice and clean property. There are lots of great tenants out there and they are seeking professional landlords who make sure their rental property looks to be in top notch condition.

Experienced BC landlords know that beauty is only step one when you rent out your property.  You also need to make sure your rental property is safe and you know the rules for safety!

These landlords know how to avoid the ‘bad tenants’ out there as you can see from Landlords in BC – Top 5 Tenant Screening Mistakes, and know good landlords who find good tenants take the time to educate ourselves on the laws of the province and provide safe housing to tenants.

Fire safety is a huge issue. It’s vitally important small residential landlords make sure their rental property is safe and legal.

In order to help BC residential landlords we contacted the very helpful Stephen Watt. He’s the Codes and Standards Coordinator for the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Emergency Management B.C.

We truly appreciate the time Officer Watt spent to help us educate residential BC landlords.

1. What are the responsibilities of private residential landlords when it comes to fire safety?

The owner or owners authorized agent is required to carry out the provisions of the BCFC.

2. What are the rules for rental properties regarding making their property fire safe? Are there general guidelines or specific rules? Where can these be found for landlords to learn to make their rentals safe for tenants?

The requirement is to maintain the existing life safety systems installed in the building in working condition as per the original approved (by local building official) design.

Smoke alarms are required (as per Bulletin Smoke Alarm Bulletin – 2012 07 16 (Revised 2013 12 13)

3. Are these rules the same in all of the province?

Yes, in all areas under provincial jurisdiction. The City of Vancouver has similar requirements.

4. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to smoke alarms?

See Smoke Alarm Bulletin – 2012 07 16 (Revised 2013 12 13)

5. What are the rules for landlords when it comes to carbon monoxide alarms?

If they are installed they are to be maintained in working condition as per manufacturer’s instructions.

6. Regarding enforcement of the laws, what type of fines can landlords face if they are not following the laws?

See http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96144_01#section45

Offence by owner or occupier

45 (1) An owner or occupier of a building or premises who fails to comply with an order made under this Act commits an offence.

(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction to the penalties provided in the Offence Act.

(3) In the case of a continuing offence, a person who commits the offence is liable to a further penalty of not more than $50 for each day during which the offence continues.

7. What can tenants do if they worry their rental home isn’t fire safe?

The OFC can be called at 1-888-988-9488

The local fire department can also be called

8. What happens if a tenant disables a smoke alarm? Can they be fined?

No the tenant cannot be fined; however, a compliance Order can be written against the owner to install a working smoke alarm.

9. Are there any great resources you recommend for residential landlords to learn more about their responsibilities when it comes to fire safety?

The OFC Bulletins, the Fire Services Act, and the BCFC

• Public Education Bulletins – http://www.embc.gov.bc.ca/ofc/public-ed/index.htm

Houses used for Boarders, Lodgers and Roomers – 2005 12 20
Smoke Alarm Bulletin – 2012 07 16 (Revised 2013 12 13)
Consent to Enter a Private Dwelling – 2014 05 15

• Fire Safety Legislation

The Office of the Fire Commissioner administers the Fire Services Act and the BC Fire Code. Under this legislative authority, the Office appoints and trains local assistants to the fire commissioner (LAFC), implements fire safety regulations, processes technical code changes and resolves appeals.

Fire Services Act
2012 BC Building Code and 2012 BC Fire Code

10. How can small private residential landlords go the extra mile to make their rental property ultra safe for their tenants.

• Owners must maintain the existing life safety systems as per original approved building design.

• Provide additional battery operated smoke alarms in bedrooms , as smoke alarms in bedrooms are now required in all new dwellings unit built/constructed under the 2012 BC Building Code

• Provide tenants with OFC Bulletins and familiarization with the life safety system installed in the building, as part of fire safety planning.

BC Landlords make the extra effort to make sure your BC rental property is safe for your tenants.