City of Vancouver under pressure to make more pet-friendly homes available for low-income renters

PRESS RELEASE -  December 1, 2016 


Many people in the lower mainland can relate to struggling to find a place to rent when you have a pet. One group finding this especially difficult is low-income renters in Vancouver. Currently, a lot of subsidized housing does not allow pets. City Council will soon be considering recommendations from the City’s Renters Advisory Committee (just released on the City’s website). These recommendations aim to see more pet friendly units in subsidized housing.

Lawyer Joshua Prowse with Community Legal Assistance Society worked on developing this proposal. A housing lawyer, Prowse sits on the Renters Advisory Committee and provides legal supervision to the TRAC, Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre.

The motion calls on the City of Vancouver to look at why the City and the province are funding housing providers who bar tenants from having any pets, and what changes can be made when the city renews these contracts. The motion also stresses that pets are a significant source of companionship and play an important role in maintaining health, wellness, and quality of life.

Right now, more than 10,000 people in metro Vancouver are on waiting lists for subsidized housing – and many of these units do not allow pets.  Joshua Prowse says these pet restrictions affect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, people with few alternative housing options.  Prowse notes other jurisdictions have taken steps to protect low-income renters with pets.  He says it is time for our city to catch up and address this issue.

Prowse says he hears from renters who are asked to make an impossible choice, between having a home and having their pet.  He says upwards of 20% of pet surrenders to the BC SPCA (about 1,500 per year) are related to housing challenges.

CLAS Lawyer Joshua Prowse will be available for interviews today.

Media inquiries contact:

Dianne Bankay, Communications Coordinator
Community Legal Assistance Society
604 657 0667