Victoria renters call on changes to no pet policies
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:15PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 19, 2017 6:18PM PDT
Finding a place to rent in Victoria isn’t easy and for people trying to find a spot that takes pets it’s even tougher.
Some pet owners are being forced to make a heart-wrenching choice and give up their pet to secure a home.
Rosemary Collins says her dog Tipper means more to her than just about anything in the world and that’s why she’s so upset over the policies.
“If she gets sick with something serious that could maybe end her life, it will end her life because I would not be able to afford the vet bills to keep her alive,” Collins said.
The island retiree says she spends close to half her monthly pension on rent and she can’t find anywhere affordable that takes pets.
“If you’ve got $1,200 or $1,400 to throw at a place you can have a place with a dog,” Collins added.
The pet owner is one of 10,000 people who’ve signed a petition asking the province to modify the Residential Tenancy Act.
“Nullify the no pets policy currently in place that allows landlords to discriminate against renters who have pets,” said Jordan Reichert with Pets OK BC.
The province's housing minister Selena Robinson hasn’t committed to changes and says the ultimate answer lies in resolving the housing crisis.
“We need to make sure that we have enough stocks so that when we have a bigger vacancy rate there’s real opportunities for choice,” said Robinson.
Last year a lack of housing choices led to more than 160 pets being surrendered at the SPCA branch in Victoria.
Landlord advocates say while they sympathize, changing the law wouldn’t be fair to owners or renters who don’t like pets.
"What we’re concerned about here is we have a certain duty under the Residential Tenancy Act to other tenants, we have to ensure that they’re accommodated,” said David Hutniak, CEO of Landlord BC.
The petition will be delivered at the BC Legislature on Sunday.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Rob Buffam