“More than 50 per cent of B.C. residents have pets, but just 5 per cent of rental suites allow dogs, and only 9 per cent allow cats.” – BC SPCA
I work in a rental and strata office and one of the most common things I notice in the homes manage is how many that either do not allow pets or have pet restrictions. My town is not as big as the ones that are closer to Vancouver, making it more difficult to bring your furry friends along with you if you are a renter.
It took us a very long time to find a rental property that allowed pets. More specifically, allowed a dog. My boyfriend and I lived in an apartment with Miss Kisa for a year, and when our lease was about to be up there, an affordable rental home became available that allowed both cats and dogs. We hopped on this golden opportunity, and have been here for over a year. If it weren’t for our considerate landlord, Kisa would be content as there would be no Bain slobber in her face everyday, and my pet blog and Youtube channel would be non-existent.
Customers that come into the office have high hopes when searching for a place that will allow their companions. With all customers, I help as much as I can, and I will inform them that even though a property listing states “no pets”, it does not always mean no pets allowed. Once finding out what kind of pets you’d be bringing with you, there is always a chance the property manager can speak to the owner for you and have them consider.
Unfortunately, there are those that abuse the given opportunity of renting with pets. Ignoring / not correcting nuisance barking, not respecting the property by allowing their pet to freely chew and cause damage to the home, and not cleaning up after their pet. I have heard stories of a few apartment buildings that are made up of mostly rental units that have had dog urine and feces in the hallways and elevator (sometimes it’s not always the dog!).
At the moment, we’re on the verge of purchasing our own home within the next couple of years. While I have no interest in living in a strata complex, I did take a peak around recently to at least weigh it as an option. Still, it’s no. Even if I went that route, how am I supposed to bring a cat and a 100lb dog with me? Most complexes around here allow only 1 dog or 1 cat under their bylaws. Not only that, the allowed height and weight limit of a dog allowed in most complexes is only the size of a French Bulldog. This not only adds more complications to renters, but to potential owners as well. Sadly, these facts would make this option a no for us.
When I brought Bain into my life, I knew going in that there were going to be difficulties and restrictions from owning such a breed. I have no problem with that. I try extremely hard to make sure my landlords (who live next door) and their dog, a little Labradoodle, are comfortable and safe around him and are not disturbed by any possible extended periods of barking. We also live on a street that is mostly made up of retirees, and Bain has made himself a favorite in the neighbourhood. It is extremely important that we as pet owners continue to be responsible, those that don’t will continue to destroy any chance there is of rentals continuing to be available to pet owners.
“More than 2,500 companion pets a year are surrendered to our shelters as a result of people being unable to find housing that will permit their animals.” – BC SPCA
So, why should homeowners consider the option to rent out their properties to those with pets?
Long Term Tenants & Reduced Turnover Rates
Occasionally I will notice a listing available that is having difficulty being rented out. The rent may be too high, the location might not be as popular, or pets are not allowed. I find when changes to the ad are made, such as decreased rental income and allowing tenants to have pets, the listing always gets rented quickly afterwards. This is good news for the owners of the properties since a vacant property does not generate income. Also, tenants with pets stay longer on average than those without. While I am content in our home right now, if the situation arose I would fear putting myself back out there and dealing with the headache that is finding a property that allows pets.
“People with pets also stay longer — an average of 46 months, compared to 18 months for people without pets — saving landlords from having to spend time advertising for, finding and screening new reliable tenants.” – BC SPCA
Increased Rental Income
Some people, such as myself, will pay extra if it means they can bring their furry friend along. If an owner of a home is charging $1300 a month and does not allow pets and another owner on the same street is charging $1500 and allows pets, the owner of the $1500 home will typically see more action.
“Apartments that allowed for pets were able to charge 20% to 30% more rent than those that didn’t allow pets ($222 on average, according to the FIREPAW survey. And those that allowed all pets (typically meaning large dogs) fetched $100 more per month than those that restricted pets by size and type.” – MSN Real Estate
Tips for Tenants Renting with Pets
If you live in an apartment building or townhouse complex, always clean up after your pet. Even if your puppy has an accident in the apartment hallway, don’t leave it there. As you read above at the beginning, some tenants do.
If you’re like me and have a larger, controversial breed ensure that you are responsible in the handling of your dog. Bain is a friendly boy who just wants to meet and greet everyone, but if he were to be off leash in a townhouse complex running towards a stranger to meet them they might not see it the same way. Accidents do happen, as we all have experienced. For me, it was when Bain slipped out of the front door and ran all over our landlord’s front yard while he had guests over. Though accidents do happen, make sure it is just that: an accident. No one wants a dog, of any breed, running around their yard everyday.
Don’t ignore and correct nuisance barking. If you live in an apartment or townhouse complex, make sure your dog is exercised if you’re going to be gone for the day. Excessive barking and howling can get you fined by the strata.
If you have a controversial breed and need to meet the owner, a little dress up always helps. I have heard of a tenant who had a Pit Bull and was asked to meet the owner and bring their dog. He dressed the dog up in a tuxedo outfit, and was approved. Gotta love that Pit Bull charm.
Also, if the rules in your lease state that you are not allowed to have pets – do not get one. If there is any possible damage from a pet you’ve snuck into your home, any chance of the owner ever considering tenants with pets in the future is now out the window.
How to find a rental property that allows pets
Before our previous lease was up, I was looking around for rentals that were pet friendly. I was not having any luck, so I decided to put up an ad on Craigslist myself. I posted as “Responsible Tenants Looking for a Pet Friendly Home” and listed both of our secure jobs and stated we were looking for a pet friendly property. I got a handful of responses back.
If a property says “no pets” in their ad, inquire anyway. Ask if they would consider the pet(s) you already have.
Below is a great rental toolkit from the BC SPCA for owners who are either considering or new to renting to tenants with pets, as well as information for tenants. This toolkit includes a faqs section for both owners and tenants, landlord interview questions, pet resume and more.
Rental Toolkit from the BC SPCA – http://www.spca.bc.ca/welfare/campaign-issues/pets-in-rental-housing.html
Sources – BC SPCA, MSN Real Estate