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SPCA petition calls for an end to no-pets clauses in Quebec rental leases

Click to play video: 'Montreal SPCA petition calls for an end to no-pets clauses in Quebec rental leases' Montreal SPCA petition calls for an end to no-pets clauses in Quebec rental leases
The Montreal SPCA hopes to make the issue of household pets part of the conversation in the upcoming provincial election. As Global's Brayden's Jagger Haines reports, the SPCA has launched an online petition calling on Quebec to abolish the increasingly popular no-pet clauses in residential leases – Apr 5, 2022

The Montreal SPCA has launched a petition calling on the provincial government to abolish no-pet clauses in residential leases.

The online petition has been posted on the Quebec national assembly’s page and has received 2,764 signatures since Tuesday.

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The SPCA says the scarcity of animal-friendly housing is a concern in the city as moving season approaches.

The animal advocacy group says with 52 per cent of Quebec households having a companion animal, finding an affordable animal-friendly home is proving to be extremely difficult.

“Every year, countless of Québec residents are forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to part with their beloved animal, whom they consider a member of their family, in order to secure affordable rental housing,” the SPCA said in a press release.

The no-pet clauses disproportionately affect low-income families, who have more limited housing opportunities, according to the SPCA.

The current state of the Québec rental market is exacerbating this already difficult situation for many families.

“Very responsible pet owners who love their animals care for them really well are nevertheless forced to surrender them to a shelter simply because they cant find affordable pet friendly housing.”  SPCA director of animal advocacy Sophie Gaillard said.

The online petition has already received support from the opposition leader, MNA Manon Massé from Québec solidaire.

“Every year, in addition to the difficulty of finding reasonably priced housing, it is very difficult for tenants to find housing where animals are accepted. This often results in situations where people are forced to abandon their animals against their will,” Massé said.

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Read more: Record number of abandoned animals flood Montreal shelters

“The pet is never the problem, it’s the owner,” said Martin Messier, president of the Quebec Landlords Association.

They say the no-pet clause in leases is a stipulation meant to help owners and protect their property.

“Damages caused to the unit, caused by a pet left alone could be huge,” Messier said. “We’re talking about the possibility of having to replace the floor and the beams underneath the floor if the pet is left to do its business without supervision.”

Landlords need to consider that pets may cause damage to the apartments but also, Messier says, they are not ideal in a shared living space such as an apartment.

“Complaints for noises, dog barking, dogs being left alone are common. More and more pets are being left alone with the pandemic coming to an end and people returning to the office,” Messier said.

Landlords should be allowed to ask new pet-holding tenants for a security deposit but efforts to have this put into law have been unsuccessful, Messier said.

“Requiring tenants to put up an additional sum is not going to help them access housing and it is not going to facilitate social justice. That not a solution for us,” Gaillard said.

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According to a Leger survey conducted in November 2021, approximately 200,000 animals were added to the population of approximately 3.25 million companion animals in the province of Quebec.

Yet, only 4.2 per cent of landlords allow dogs, despite the fact that 25 per cent of Québec households include a dog as one of their members.

“This is a huge mismatch in terms of the number of people looking for housing and the number of landlords who are allowing animals in their rental units,” Gaillard said.

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