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Should apartment rentals be pet friendly? Islanders divided

Finding an apartment to rent can be difficult for most people, but add a pet into the mix? Most pet owners will tell you it's even harder.

Many Canadians might agree about keeping pets out of rentals, but Islanders aren't so sure

Readers are divided about whether landlords should be made to make rentals pet-friendly. (Audrey McKinnon/CBC)

Finding an apartment to rent can be difficult for most people, but add a pet into the mix? Most pet owners will tell you it's even harder.

According to a recent survey from Angus Reid Institute published Thursday, almost two-thirds of Canadians agree landlords should not be forced to accept pets in their buildings.

But when we asked CBC P.E.I.'s audience if landlords should be compelled to accept pets on CBC Prince Edward Island's Facebook page, opinions were divided.

(Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style.)

Pets? No thank you

Some readers were in agreement that landlords should be able to refuse renters with pets if they want to.

"You want to have dogs or cats buy your own place," said Scott Mellish. "Don't like it, don't rent it. I'm sure there's someone else willing to."

Janda Lee MacKay said she wouldn't be interested in paying for a rental if it smelled like the previous owners' pets.

"If you can't afford a house and have to rent, you will have rules to follow. If a rental doesn't want pets it shouldn't have to," added Ronald Lorusso.

Damage deposit an easy fix

Many readers said they felt landlords should be compelled to allow pets, but that renters should have to pay a damage deposit or an additional monthly fee.

Having this option would allow pet owners who can't necessarily buy a home still find a place.

"More people rent than own homes. It's too expensive to buy. I live in a pet friendly building, and I just pay a little extra monthly," said Renee Crowschild.

"It's not difficult for landlords to set these terms and have tenants abide by them. I have lived here, have two cats and a dog, and have had zero issues. I don't see why this has to be a big deal."

Kathie Corrigan said a damage deposit or monthly stipend would be worth the price of allowing pets in the home.

"Pets do more to improve a person's physical and mental health than most medicines. It's absolutely ludicrous that landlords would ban them," she said.

Ewen Noble agreed.

"If I'm paying $1,200 for an apartment with $600 in a damage deposit, I should be able to have dogs or cats," he said.

Pets...vs. children?

Several readers, including Jason Desroches, said children can cause as much, if not more damage than pets, and that if landlords allow kids, they should also allow animals.

"It's a family animal. Children [and] some adults make more damage then animals do," said Susan Murl. "People are crying for pet friendly facilities."

Dwayne Robbie agreed and said banning animals is essentially saying renters can't have members of their family with them.

"Ideally everyone should buy their own place to provide a home for their family, but we all live in a place where non-government wages are low and property prices have risen dramatically in the last few years," Robbie said.

'Landlords need to do their homework'

Some readers argued that damage caused by pets can often exceed the amount of the deposit, but Jamie Singleton said that landlords should be prepared for situations like that.

"Renting property is a business and you have to treat it as such," they said. "With that being said though, there are too many landlords that are missing out on a lot of good renters because they won't offer pet friendly units."

As for Dallas Collins, they argue that most pet owners are responsible enough to rent.

"I think landlords need to do their homework when looking for renters," they said. "We shouldn't all be punished because of few irresponsible pet owners."

"In today's world people can't be bothered to deal with people and ask questions and set up some ground rules about having pets. It's easier just to not allow them," agreed Sara Bryanton.

The Angus Reid survey was completed online between Dec. 7 to 14, 2017, by a representative randomized sample of 5,413 Canadian adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

More P.E.I. News

With files from Liam Britten

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