Housing: should we remove the ban on animals from the lease?

It is a question that divides year after year. The lease box that allows landlords to ban pets in their homes is not unanimous: some are fiercely opposed to it, while others find it necessary. But with 684 animals abandoned in Montreal alone since early 2022, should we abolish it?

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Several voices have been raised since the beginning of the week and strongly criticize the right to refuse rented animals in the midst of a housing crisis and an apartment search.

On Sunday the Québec solidarity party launched a petition for the abolition of this box in Section E of the lease. “It adds to all the discrimination problems that affect tenants and make it more difficult to find housing,” he raised in an interview with 24 hours the party’s spokesperson on the matter, Andrés Fontecilla.

Andres Fontecilla

Archive photo

Andres Fontecilla

The next day, it was the turn of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) to launch a petition on the National Assembly website. Thursday after midnight, he accumulated 8300 signatures.

684 animals abandoned in three months

684 pets have already been abandoned so far this year and the organization expects the number to increase rapidly as July 1 approaches, the “high season” for abandonments.

The obligation to choose between the apartment and an animal causes “horrible tears” for the tenants, especially as these animals are sometimes an emotional support and a presence for lonely people, judges Mr. Fontecilla.

Me Sophie Gaillard, Director of Animal Advocacy and Legal Affairs at the SPCA in Montreal, is concerned about the arrival of July 1st. Every year, large numbers of tenants have to give up their pets to find accommodation, a problem she says is set to worsen with the housing crisis.

“This is a problem that we have been working on for more than a decade. […] In this election year, we have a little more hope that it will unlock, “he said, referring to the fact that 52% of families in Quebec have an animal, according to a Léger poll conducted this fall.

Me Sophie Gaillard, Director of Animal Defense at SPCA, and her dog Milo

Pierre-Paul Poulin / Le Journal de Montreal / QMI Agency

Me Sophie Gaillard, Director of Animal Defense at SPCA, and her dog Milo

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Damage to the home and tranquility in the building

The Corporation of Real Estate Owners of Quebec (CORPIQ) and the Association of Quebec Landlords (APQ), two owners’ associations, strongly oppose this statement.

They claim that the potential damage created by having a dog in a home can result in thousands of dollars in damages at the owner’s expense.

Also, if a neighbor complains about the noise a dog makes, it will be up to the owner to handle this dispute.

“The rights of the owners on the state of the house are already protected, however, launches Me Gaillard of the SPCA. It is stipulated by the Civil Code that if the tenant damages the accommodation, he is responsible and remedies are available for the owner, animal or not.

Currently, 71% of owners accept cats and 25% dogs, according to a 2015 internal CORPIQ survey of members. “Sometimes we have completely extravagant requests. Asking an owner to put a Doberman in a small apartment doesn’t work, ”judges CORPIQ CEO Benoit Ste-Marie.

The general manager adds that it is often the owners who have to entrust the animals abandoned by the previous tenants on 1 July to the organizations.

Benoit Ste-Marie, CEO of CORPIQ

The Quebec Newspaper

Benoit Ste-Marie, CEO of CORPIQ

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A ban lifted in Ontario since 1990

Among our neighbors in Ontario, a landlord cannot prohibit the presence of an animal on a lease. “The conditions that prohibit pets are void and inapplicable,” reads a model lease sent by the government.

The president of the APQ, Martin A. Messier, however, specifies that the security deposit [équivalent à un mois de loyer] it is allowed in the neighboring province, not in Quebec. In the event of damage to the apartment caused by an animal, this sum is used to cover repairs.

To give another example, France has granted tenants the right to keep pets since 1970 “on condition that it guarantees the peaceful enjoyment of the premises and the building”. The owner can however prohibit the possession of dogs classified as dangerous, such as the Fossabull and the Rottweiler.


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