No pets allowed: Finding pet-friendly housing a challenge in Vancouver
Finding the ideal home to rent can be challenging in Vancouver, and the task can be made even more difficult if you have a pet.
More than 60 per cent of Vancouver residents have a dog or cat, but many rental properties don’t allow the four-legged friends.
BC SPCA employee Erin Ryan spent weeks looking for a place to rent with her cat Grubber.
"I would say that maybe for every ten listings we look at, we have to close nine of them because they explicitly state no pets and especially no cats," she said.
Over 1,500 dogs and cats are turned in every year across the province by people who can't find pet friendly housing. Renters say it's a major problem in the city of Vancouver.
"We have an incredible absence of pet friendly rental housing in this city. Only about a quarter of the properties, rental properties in Vancouver are pet friendly," said Geoff Urton of the BC SPCA.
Renter Ryan Johnson has struggled to find a home that that will accept his dog Arthur.
"There are a lot of dogs in this city, and there are a lot of renters. It's already hard enough to find a place to rent, without a dog," he said.
So when developer Bosa opened a new pet friendly rental building in False Creek recently, complete with a parkade dog wash for tenants, Johnson and his pooch moved in.
"It doesn't seem really fair to discriminate against people or ask them to get rid of that member of their family in order to find a place to live," said Tracy Fruin, Bosa rental manager.
The upside for landlords is many pet owners make better tenants.
"They stay twice as long on average, they're willing to pay 20 to 30 per cent more and what landlord wouldn't want that?" said Urton.
As for Grubber, his owner was able to score a new rental home in Kitsilano with the help of a creative kitty reference letter.
"Just last weekend we actually successfully, brought in a pet/tenant resume, and were able to secure housing that initially indicated no pets," said Ryan.
Ryan says she’s happy to pay a bit more and stay a bit longer, when she finds a good pet friendly landlord.
The SPCA says renters with pets on average stay 46 months in a home, compared to 18 months for people without pets.
The City of Vancouver says pet owners face "extreme discrimination," and in 2013 it passed a motion to make it harder for landlords to refuse pets. The problem is, provincial legislation would have to change and that hasn't happened.