A lawmaker in New Brunswick is speaking out about the social development department’s policy on pets.
According to a news report, NDP Leader Dominic Cardy says the department is threatening to evict low-income seniors who won’t give up their beloved pets. Cardy says the policy in unfair, and what’s more, it is not being applied uniformly.
Cardy is calling for the N.B. government to adopt a tenant pet policy similar to Ontario’s, where renters have ample leeway to bring in a pet without fear of eviction, even if the lease contains restrictions on pets.
The Ontario rules provide that a landlord can adopt a “no pets” policy, and if they learn that a person applying to rent an apartment has a pet, the landlord may refuse to rent to that person.
However, the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act states that any clause in a lease that prohibits pets is void. This means that once a person becomes a tenant, if they have a pet — even though the lease says pets are not allowed, the landlord cannot evict the tenant just for having the pet. The landlord can apply to evict a tenant if the pet is causing a problem –making too much noise, damaging the unit, causing an allergic reaction, or the animal or species is considered to be inherently dangerous.
New Brunswick officials say the pet ban has been in place for decades, and tenants have a chance to see the policy in the rental agreement before they sign a lease for low-income housing, according to the report. One housing ministry official said that in some buildings, pets run free in the halls, and cats urinate in elevators. She told reporters that as a landlord, she feared for the liability that her office would incur if tenants took in multiple pets, or someone had a health and safety issue with the animals being in the building.
Cardy counters these concerns by pointing to the possible health benefits of allowing seniors to keep pets as companions. He says a more permissive policy could reduce what the province pays out for health costs.
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