Victoria activists are calling for new provincial legislation to protect pet owners' rights as tenants.

Jordan Reichert and others with the Animal Protection Party of Canada have started a petition calling for clauses to be made invalid in rental agreements that prohibit pets.

They want Victoria City Council to write letters to the Ministry of Housing in support of that change.

"The current legislation … discriminates against tenants that have pets in their home and are trying to find affordable housing in this market which is honestly quite dismal when it comes to availability," Jordan Reichert told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"It's very rare to find good places at an affordable price."

In Ontario, Reichert said, landlords cannot ban a tenant from bringing in a pet in most cases.

He says a blanket ban on pets also causes problems for the SPCA, which receives about 1,500 animals every year which are abandoned for housing-related reasons.

"To have to give those pets up to shelters or other people can be very traumatic," he said.

Non-profit housing group opposes idea

Greater Victoria Housing Society executive director Kaye Melliship says losing the ability to ban pets would be challenging for her organization.

The non-profit charity provides low-income housing to families and single people and Melliship says they can't afford pet-related damages.

"The challenge is not all pets are good for the densities we live at, and not all pet owners are responsible," she said.

Reichert disputes that assertion, saying there's no evidence that pets cause more damage and besides, people in pet-friendly buildings tend to stay longer in one building as tenants.

When asked for a response, the Ministry Responsible for Housing said they were not considering changing provincial legislation on the issue.

Information on Reichert's petition can be found online.

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Petition calls for end to 'no pets' policies in rental housing

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Reichert's petition was available at a location. In fact, the petition is available online.
    Feb 16, 2017 5:32 PM PT