Saturday 24 February 2024

Landlord-imposed pet restrictions in the United States are widespread

Young man and his dog companion. Image: Nathan Winograd.

OPINION: Nathan Winograd, American's great animal shelter expert and advocate, tells me the following about landlord-imposed pet restrictions in America,
In a nationwide survey of landlords, approximately 47% of rental housing did not allow pets and only 9% of pet-friendly units allowed pets without limitations on type or size. Large dogs were welcome in only 11% of rental housing. Meanwhile, pet-friendly rentals had a 20 to 30% rent premium, costing on average $222 more per month than rentals that did not allow pets.” In some cities, the situation is worse: more than half of all rental units in Los Angeles did not allow any pets at all. In one survey, “only 212 out of 612 apartment listings allowed dogs.
The California legislature is debating a bill called AB 1226 which would prohibit no pet clauses in landlord tenancy agreements i.e. rental agreements between the landlord and a tenant. 

The politicians are working out the drafting of the legislation. Winograd says that it is sorely needed because stopping tenants having pets in their apartments negatively impacts adoptions, it increases the relinquishment of companion animals to shelters and causes animal homelessness as well as people homelessness. 

It also results in wasteful expenditure as those that rent properties must pay a premium for housing which allows them to live with their companion animals.

Winograd's No Kill Advocacy centre has, for a very long time, called for "state and federal legislation to ban housing discrimination for families with animal companions."

The landlords and others who are against this kind of legislation are apparently concerned about "allergies, noise and property damage" when companion animals live with renters. 

Comment: but these concerns which are not entirely unjustified can be dealt with with a properly drafted agreement between landlord and renter and by taking an added deposit which would cover any damage to the property when the renter leaves.

Also, leases always contain a clause concerning "quiet enjoyment" which would encompass a dog barking. Neighbours have recourse under the lease and/or under the rental agreement which would refer to the lease to reinforce good behaviour.

I know that it is not great having to enforce good behaviour but if it's made abundantly clear to the person renting that they have to comply with certain strict terms of their agreement and the lease then they are reasonably likely to comply with those terms provided the individual is vetted properly.

Landlords who allow pets open the door to far more clients and therefore their business is likely to be more profitable and it is said that they pet owners are often long-term tenants resulting in less 'voids' -  reduced vacancy rates.

In general, Americans are overwhelmingly in support of allowing animals in residential properties.

Winograd refers to a "housing discrimination ban" nationwide i.e. a federal law which "will allow over 8 million additional animals to find new homes yearly, roughly ten years of killing". 

Allowing pets in landlord owned homes reduces the number of dogs and cats killed at animal shelters.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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