MB Tenants for Pets in Apartments

  • by: Melanie Schmidt
  • recipient: All members of the MB Legislative Assembly; Residential Tenancies Branch; and MB Housing

It's time Manitoba recognized that pets are an integral part of our families. We are fed up with having to choose between having a roof over our heads or keeping our beloved pets!

Landlords and other opponents of pets in apartments argue that chaos would break out should the move to pet friendly housing be made. However, Ontario voted in pet friendly legislation over two decades ago and their buildings have not transformed into filthy pigsties. Also, a comprehensive study conducted in 2003, reported that landlords spent less than 1 hour per year dealing with pet-related grievances. Proving beyond any doubt that the fears are completely unwarranted!

Let's put an end to the province-wide discrimination against responsible pet owners!

We, the undersigned, believe the current "no pets," blanket policy to be outdated and highly inappropriate in a society that views their pets as an extension of the family unit. Too many responsible pet owners are forced to choose between having a roof over their heads or keeping their beloved pet(s). We ask for reform by way of a new, pet friendly policy that encourages responsible ownership, yet continues to provide landlords with the tools they need to protect their property from unsavory tenants.

The following are 10 key points that we would ask you to consider in regards to this issue, presented in no particular order:

    1. A comprehensive study conducted in 2003 showed that landlords spend less than 1 hour per year dealing with pet-related complaints. Proving that incorporating pets into rental buildings is not "a disaster waiting to happen," as we are continually led to believe.

    2. Numerous research studies show that having pets promotes better health. Denying this to renters is saying that only a home owner has the right to improved health and wellbeing.

    3. Animal shelters would see a great reduction in the number of pets both relinquished and euthanized as many more owners would be in a position to keep their pets, and more homes would become available to adopting shelter animals.

    4. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, discrimination is defined as: "the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually." Therefore, landlords discriminate each time they deny tenancy, or evict a tenant, based solely on the presence of a pet without sufficient proof that the pet has caused, or is causing, damage, odour, noise, etc. to the property.

    5. The law places pets under the category of personal property, thus, landlords should not have the right to decide what personal property a tenant may own. Only when sufficient proof can be presented that a tenant's personal property is causing destruction to the property or causes health and/or safety concerns to other tenants should a landlord have the right to take appropriate action.

    6. Carpeting could be removed from suites to prevent accumulation of pet hair and dander. This would allow a suite to be fully disinfected between tenancies, effectively preventing allergy sufferers from exposure to pet hair/dander left by the previous occupant's pet(s).

    7. In the first phase of incorporating pets into rental complexes, landlords could assign one particular floor to pet owners.

    8. There should be no restrictions as to species, breed, size, age, or the number of pets a tenant is allowed, as long as local animal by-laws are observed and the owner can prove that they are capable of controlling and providing proper care for their animal(s) at all times.

    9. Indispensable tools that landlords could utilize: a) Screening and background checks. b) A 3-month probationary period for both prospective tenants with pets or current tenants wishing to bring in a pet. c) Annual inspections.

    10. And finally, landlords have many legal options for recovering lost profits due to damages caused by tenants (or their pets) in the form of damage and pet deposits as well as the right to seek additional compensation when deposits do not cover the cost of repairs.

In closing, we would like to thank you for your time and consideration on this very important issue. We hope that a new, sensible pet policy replaces the current, outdated one. A policy that will better reflect the importance that pets play in our lives.

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