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New campaign calls for more pet-friendly rental housing in B.C.

Struggling to find dog-friendly rentals in Vancouver? The SPCA is urging locals to voice their support for more pet-friendly rentals in B.C.

The lack of dog-friendly rental options is a common complaint among Vancouver pet owners, and

a new campaign launched by the BC SPCA is asking unhappy pet parents to voice their support for more pet-friendly rentals in British Columbia.

Finding affordable, pet-friendly housing in British Columbia – especially in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland - has long been a challenge for animal lovers, and the latest BC SPCA campaign hopes to show the government, and landlords, that there is an urgent need for more pet-friendly rentals.

As the BC SPCA, and many other rescue organizations saw a huge surge in people seeking the comfort and companionship of animals during the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for pet-friendly accommodation has become more urgent than ever before.

With limited options available in Vancouver that welcome our four-legged friends, and tight restrictions placed on renters, dog owners can often feel forced to either move out of the city, or surrender their beloved pets.

“Approximately 25 per cent of all animals surrendered to BC SPCA facilities are given up because their guardians can’t find housing that will allow their pet,” says Meghann Cant, BC SPCA manager of companion animal welfare (science and policy). “It is heartbreaking to see people forced to give up a pet because of housing issues.”

Cant notes that there is extensive medical research that supports the significant role animals play in the mental and physical wellness of humans. “From encouraging people to get out for daily walks, to reducing stress in heart patients, animals make our communities safer, healthier and more humane,” she says.

Studies have also shown that pet-friendly housing is a benefit for landlords seeking responsible tenants, with a FIREPAW study showing that tenants with animals in pet-friendly housing stay an average of 46 months, compared to 18 months for tenants in rental housing prohibiting pets.

“Not only do people with pets change their housing much less frequently than people without pets, they’re usually willing to pay more,” explains Cant.

The study also shows there is no statistically significant difference in damage between tenants with pets and tenants without pets, and that the increased interaction between tenants who meet while out walking their pets can actually have a positive impact.

“People tend to get to know their neighbours better so there is a sense of community and they are more likely to notice if strangers are lurking around the building, so there is an added security factor,” Cant adds.

If you're currently looking for pet-friendly housing, the BC SPCA has created an online tool kit to help pet guardians find a home for themselves and their furry family members.

“The tool kit provides animal lovers with information and details about pet-friendly housing, including the benefits of having tenants with pets, a resumé with references that explains why the pet and guardian are good tenants, and a pet policy that both tenant and landlord can mutually agree upon and sign,” adds Cant.

To voice your support to government and landlords on the need for more pet-friendly housing in B.C., you can take the BC SPCA pledge here.

The organization is also asking pet owners to help spread the message that pet-friendly apartments, houses and rentals are a great idea by sharing this infographic on their social media page.


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