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Solutions for pet-unfriendly Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 16, 2016 at 12:34 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

SPCA proposing solutions for renters struggling with pet-unfriendly housing

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With all the offleash parks, cat daycares and even doggy-biscuit bakeries in Vancouver, you’d think the city would be considered one of the most pet-friendly in the country.

But you probably won’t hear that from anyone who has tried to convince a unsympathetic landlord or strata council to accept a dog, cat or both in a very tight rental market.

“If you look at the housing market in Vancouver, it’s tough for anyone. But pet-owners are the ones who are often getting left out in the cold because of restrictions on pet accommodations,” says Geoff Urton, manager of stakeholder relations for the BCSPCA.

Urton believes finding housing that allows pets has always been hard in Vancouver but that there is a “real squeeze” right now for anyone trying to find an animal-friendly place to live.

“In Vancouver, the availability for rental units and in strata buildings is very low and as a result we are seeing an incredible amount of animals coming into our shelters from individuals who have had to give up their pets because they just can’t find somewhere that allows them.”

Provincewide, 20 percent of the animals surrendered to the SPCA are there because of housing-related issues.

“That’s 15-hundred animals a year. In Vancouver it is a much higher percentage — about 40-per cent of all surrenders,” he tells NEWS 1130.

But Urton believes pet-owners can have more success in finding accommodation simply being being their own advocates.

“We do have a toolkit¬†on our website that coaches people on how to do that. We really think that individuals can make a strong case to their landlord about why it should be acceptable for them to have a pet, and likewise with their strata.”

He points to research that has shown that pet-owning tenants tend to stay longer term and are able to pay more.

“In fact, we have this tremendous opportunity for landlords to charge an additional pet-damage deposit. That gives them a bit more of a sense of security in ensuring there isn’t going to be unreasonable damage done to that their properties and, if there ever is, they will be able to recover the costs for it.”

Urton believes landlords should rest assured that animal-owners are very capable of being good tenants and that there are protections in place so they won’t be stuck with someone causing a nuisance.