It’s time for British Columbia to do what Ontario has done and make it impossible for landlords to kick someone out for owning a pet.
Ontario’s laws are by no means perfect, as landlords can still legally refuse to rent to someone who tells them they have a pet, but can do nothing if that turns out to be a lie.
Which, as you can imagine, has led to some less than optimal landlord-tenant relationships.
Unless of course the pet and their owner end up trashing the place — then it’s cut and dried.
Which is the bottom line anyway, and the reason that landlords often refuse to allow tenants to have pets, or limit the size or number of pets a tenant can move in.
There seems to be a lot of fear out there for some reason that pet owners are somehow more likely to trash a place than a non-pet-owning tenant.
We do not understand this.
If somebody is prone to destroying a residence, they’re going to do it whether they have help from a pet in their destruction or not.
There are plenty of ways a single individual can trash a place — holes in walls, soiled carpets and curtains, broken fixtures and more. None of those things need involve a pet.
Most pet owners are responsible. They love their furry friends like children and clean up after them.
Some landlords have clearly never been pet owners themselves. No dedicated pet owner would ever ask another if they would be willing to get rid of their pet in order to rent an apartment.
It’s terrible that that’s a choice some people end up being forced to make.
A gut-wrenching, terrible decision. So while it’s not good to lie to your landlord, we understand why some people do.
Pets improve quality of life immeasurably. They provide love and companionship — but they are a responsibility.
And there are some bad pet owners. We understand that landlords and building owners don’t normally refuse to rent to pet owners out of hatred of pets, but out of fear of what could happen to their property.
Perhaps they’ve had a bad experience in the past, or have just heard horror stories through the grapevine from their contemporaries.
It’s never the wonderful pet owner stories that make the rounds, we imagine.
We urge them to give a pet owner wanting to rent a chance. Or take a second chance on another pet owner.
Because there are bad non-pet-owning tenants who are loud, obnoxious, threatening, don’t pay the rent and more.
Singling out the pet owners just doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense.
So we’d like to see more rights for pet owners enshrined in law.