Friday 12 April 2024

Forcing landlords to accept people with pets. Good and bad consequences.

There are good and bad consequences to laws which force landlords to accept people with pets - normally cats and dogs. I've always supported laws forcing landlords to allow pet owners to rent but I'm not sure I was right. I have been a landlord. If I'm honest I'm not sure I would allow a pet owner to rent from me. It all depends on the person. But it appears there are too many cat and dog owners who are irresponsible. There are too many tenants who just don't respect the landlord's property.

People tend to misbehave when they don't own the property in which they live.  A new California bill seeks to bar landlords from banning pets in their rental units.

And if a landlord can rent to a person who isn't a pet owner without too much difficulty because there are a lot of tenants looking for homes then why should they allow someone with a cat or dog?

You could argue that there is a social necessity to allow cat and dog owners to rent properties from landlords in San Francisco simply because there are people out there with cats and dogs who need a home and the jurisdiction, the local authority, should ensure that pet owners have somewhere to live. I think that is a fair argument. It's about being fair towards pet owners and indeed their pets.

The bill would prohibit “no pet” clauses in rental housing, prevent landlords from asking about pets until they have approved the rental application, and prevent them from imposing pet rental fees. The Assembly’s Judiciary Committee approved the bill, which now heads to the floor for a vote by the entire Assembly. If passed, it will be taken up in the Senate.
I was interested to note that on social media and I'm referring in this instance to, most people think a law forcing landlords to allow pets as an overreach. They think it's going to far. This information comes from the San Francisco section of

Here are some points that they make in my words:

The general mood on the website is that a law forcing landlords to allow pet owners is the wrong thing to do. They think it's going too far.

Users on that platform say that there are good examples of very poor tenants owning cats and dogs who have allowed their companion animals to pee and crap all over the apartment. And they've been there a long time.

The urine and faeces get into the fabric of the apartment. Some of them have some terrible stories of the need to strip out the apartment and even pull the floorboards up to ensure that the smell disappears.

The general tenor of the response to this new legislation in California, which by the way is said to be a AB 1226 (not sure that is correct), is that it puts too much pressure on the landlord. It may force landlords to get out of the market and if so there would be less properties available that happen rather than more.

And if landlords are already subject to a limit on the value of the deposit they can demand, to add this new law would mean that they couldn't increase the deposit to protect their property if it is damaged by pee and dog crap and by scratches from dogs and cats. If that is the case - and I don't know the laws of San Francisco - it would be very unfair and it simply would not be workable to operate the rental market like that.

Laws governing landlords and tenants is all about balancing the needs of business against the rights of individuals. It is about the right wing in political terms versus the left wing. It's about big commerce against little individual. It's about controlling the powerful and helping the needy.

This kind of stuff requires a lot of balance and compromise. It requires a very careful and nuanced balancing act between these competing forces. As far as I can see the people on think that this legislation has gone too far in favour of the tenant and it will be too detrimental to landlords.


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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