Need information about activism for dog-friendly rental housing
February 6, 2014 11:13 AM   Subscribe

My city has developed an extreme lack of dog-friendly rental housing, and the trend towards prohibiting dogs or charging exorbitant "pet rent" is only getting worse. I'm looking for examples of cities and towns that have successfully turned around this trend.

My city has an extremely low vacancy rate for rental housing (<3%). Because of that, landlords really have their pick of tenants, and now ban pets seemingly across the board.

This is stressing animal shelters as residents lose pets they love and want to keep for no other reason than that they cannot find a landlord who will rent to them. (Or a landlord who will rent to them without charging unaffordable "pet rent.").

I need examples of cities who have successfully turned around this kind of trend, successfully made more dog-friendly housing available, etc.

Articles, anecdotes, even simple lists of cities where this has happened would be helpful. I would also appreciate hearing about individual activists who have worked on this issue, blogs that discuss it, etc. Any information would be helpful.
posted by cairdeas to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
"No pets" policies are not legal in Ontario, Canada. Renters are allowed having pets regardless of what the owner's wishes are, as long as the pet does not damage the property or interfere with a neighbour's ability to enjoy their own property.
posted by Jairus at 11:37 AM on February 6, 2014 [4 favorites]

I should be working, but I'm a cat owner and an animal person in general (grew up with dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, goldfish, even a freshwater crawfish) and wanted to help out.

There's a Minnesota nonprofit called the Pet Project. (Note: I can't vouch for their effectiveness, because all I know of them is what I see online.)

Their mission is to provide pet food and supplies to food pantries. But their website also has a page on housing resources for pet owners, including tips on pleading your case with landlords, sample pet resumes and links to various sites that let you look for pet-friendly properties.

Of all the links from the Pet Project, the most interesting to me is the one for, "a directory of apartments, homes and hotels that accept pets." It appears to encompass 90 metro areas and a couple hundred cities.

And here are "Tips for Finding Pet-Friendly Rentals," from There's a similar article on the Humane Society of the U.S. website.
posted by virago at 12:04 PM on February 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Massachusetts does not allow the "nonrefundable deposit" for pets, though I've seen landlords here ask for them anyway.
posted by chaiminda at 12:09 PM on February 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

In New South Wales (Australia) the law used to dictate that the default apartment and townhouse (condo) rules were no pets unless the owners' corporation voted otherwise. Recently it changed to the opposite, i.e. pets are allowed by default, and the owners' corporation has to vote to overturn this if they have some reason to (75% agreement required).

I believe something similar happened in Canberra a few years ago and it became no longer legal for complexes to have a default ban on pets. If you requested permission to have a pet in the complex, they had to agree unless they had a "reasonable" objection.

I think all this applies only to owner-occupiers, though, sadly, rather than renters.
posted by lollusc at 2:51 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Might be way out of any jurisdiction you care about, but the NSW state government is in the process of reforming Strata laws (Australia uses Strata Title to govern ownership of multi-occupancy buildings in most cases, I think parts of Canada might use a similar system).

In part these reforms will deal with by-laws concerning pets, and will make pet ownership in apartments and units allowed by default. This is the opposite of what the current situation is, where pets are banned by default. Note that individual Owner Corporations can still make alterations to their own by-laws to prohibit pets.

This mostly applies to owner-occupiers. However it should make it easier for tenants to argue a case for their pets, provided the individual landlord allows pets in the lease. At the very least it should remove an obstacle where a landlord may be willing to allow pets, but the default Strata by-laws won't allow them.

This pdf from the Law Society of NSW gives some more detail (and also led me to the page for the Young Lawyers Animal Law Committee, which has more publications about the rights and responsibilities of animal ownership in NSW if you are in any way interested).

And on preview what lollusc said ...
posted by arha at 2:59 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Urbane Apartments in Detroit have an open pet policy: any dog/cat any size.
posted by yoga at 4:08 PM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

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