photo: (c) 2013 Katherine Brodsky
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
― Anatole Franc
If you live in Vancouver and have a pet, then you know how difficult it is to find an apartment that will allow you to bring the non-human part of your family with you.
That's why a motion has been tabled by Vancouver Councillor Tim Stevenson that would forbid discrimination towards tenant-to-be who have pets.
We, as a society, have an inherent responsibility to take care of our pets. Yet so many end up abandoned in shelters - some with particularly terrible conditions and loose "kill" policies.
The rental housing laws are not helping.
Based on media reports, there seems to be a great deal of opposition towards this motion from landlords.
This is understandable.
I don't believe that it should just be passed without offering any protection to the landowner who has invested in the property. Some animals (just like kids, incidentally) can damage carpets, and perhaps even claw at walls. Puppies are particularly likely to be culprits.
But isn't that where damage deposits come in? Human tenants can just as easily ruin walls by putting nails in them, or allowing kids to draw on them. They can ruin carpets by walking around in muddy shoes in-house -- and by a multitude of other more creative ways. Arguably, some pets are better than their human counterparts. In fact, many pets are perfect citizens with impeccable manners. Some are not. (Notice a pattern here?)
If the new regulation is passed, it should also protect landlords by allowing them to set specific damage deposits for people with pets that would cover cleaning services or any potential damage to carpets. If allergies are a concern, there can be a special cleaning fee that is added when proof of having allergies to animal fur is shown. In extreme cases, there can even be a medical waiver.
There's a middle ground here, and I think that landlords should come together with tenants to find that ground.
This is not a battle -- this should be a search for a solution because a solution is necessary.
After all, a house is not a home without a pet.
What do you think? Join the conversation below.