The City Council in Berkeley, California is considering a measure that, if passed, would mean landlords there could not maintain a “no-pets” policy.
Referring to the complicated rules regarding companion animals, lawmakers appear to be arguing that if you can’t beat them, you should join them. Proponents suggest that the companion animal rules provide easy access to pets for those who have a disability, or those willing to say they do in order to keep pets.
As a result, a number of problems arise including resentment between tenants when one is able to obtain an exemption for an animal but another fails, and concern on the part of landlords that a companion animal request may be fraudulent.
These concerns, lawmakers say, would be mitigated if all tenants were allowed “cats, dogs and other small house pets (such as rabbits, hamsters, reptiles, fish, and amphibians) regardless of whether or not they are identified as assistance animals or ESAs, provided that they can be reasonably accommodated.”
Tracking the companion animal rules, under the proposed law landlords would not be required to accept pets that are dangerous, and tenants would be required to keep the rental property sanitary.
In addition to clearing up any controversy over the companion animal rules, lawmakers say that the measure will help reduce the number of pets abandoned by renters who cannot find housing in one of the most competitive rental markets in the country.
Incidentally, the Council is also looking into ways to reduce the number of overtime hours paid to workers who currently care for abandoned pets.
The same councilmember pushing this measure forward also is focusing on another proposal that would require landlords to accept the first qualified tenant when advertising a vacancy. This, it is argued, would end an increasingly common practice within the city of stoking bidding wars between applicants, which ultimately drives up market rent. The policy would not set rental rates, but rather force a landlord to commit to the advertised price.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.