We asked our Facebook community for suggestions on topics of interest for our blog posts. Faye O. wanted us to look into the rules around renting with pets in the province. We love hearing from our Facebook community and value their input, so upon request, here is some information about renting with pets in BC.

(Please note that this content is for informational purposes only, it is not a legal opinion.)

Renting with pets in BC

BC’s pet owners can find it challenging to find pet-friendly homes, especially if the rental market is tight. It’s very important for both tenants and landlords to understand their rights and the rules around renting with pets. So, if you are a pet owner looking to rent or a landlord considering renting to a pet owner, here is some information we have gathered from the Government of BC’s Residential Tenancy Branch website. For all of the rules relating to pets and pet damage deposits, you can read BC’s Residential Tenancy Act in full.

Landlords

  • Landlords have the right to prohibit pets*.
  • Landlords have the right to restrict the size, kind, and number of pets*.
  • Landlords can make their own (reasonable) pet-related rules that the tenant must follow.

*These rules do not apply to certified guide and service dogs.

Tenants

During a tenancy, the tenant must follow the rules set out in the tenancy agreement about pets. If a tenant decides they want a pet, they must check their tenancy agreement first.

  • If pets are allowed: the landlord will need to schedule an inspection of the home.
  • If pets are NOT allowed: the landlord and the tenant must decide whether allowing pets can be negotiated.

Want to change the pet policy in your tenancy agreement?

If you want to make changes to the tenancy agreement, all of the changes must be recorded in the agreement.

  • If a tenant can prove the landlord verbally agreed to a pet, the landlord may not be able to enforce restrictions on pets or claim that the tenant has breached the agreement.
  • If a landlord wants to start enforcing the pet restrictions, the landlord should give notice that the terms will be enforced and provide a reasonable period for the tenant to comply with the changes.

Here are some steps to take when changing your tenancy agreement from the BC government website.

Pet damage deposits

  • Landlords may ask for a pet damage deposit if a tenant gets a pet for the first time.
  • The landlord and tenant should inspect the condition of the home before the tenant pays the damage deposit and before the pet enters the home.
  • During the inspection, both parties should complete a Condition Inspection Report.
  • This report may be submitted as evidence if there is a dispute about the condition of the home.

Where to go with questions or more information

While we are responsible for certain industries and specific laws in the province, we have no authority when it comes to rental agreements or tenancy rules in BC. If you have any questions relating to your tenancy agreement or specific laws about renting with pets in BC, you may want to contact the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Branch.

ADDITIONAL READING:

What to do when problems occur during a tenancy – information from the BC Government
Travelling with your furry friend
How much is that doggie in the window? Scam warning