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 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.
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.
- A pet damage deposit can only be used to cover the costs of repairing damage caused by a pet, unless otherwise agreed
- The deposit must be no more than half of one month’s rent, regardless of the number of pets allowed
- 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.
What to do when problems occur during a tenancy – information from the BC Government
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35 thoughts on “Renting with pets in BC: what are the rules?”
Can a landlord charge per pet or is it 1/2 of damage deposit?Moving into place with roommate and we each have a cat what are the rules and fees concerning this?
Or is it up to landlord?
Hi Yvonne, thanks for your question. While this is not an area we have authority over, I did a bit of digging for you on the Residential Tenancy Branch website and think I found an answer. According to this page here, the deposit must be no more than half of one month’s rent, regardless of the number of pets allowed. However, I’m not sure if this applies for each individual tenant. There’s a chance you would each have to pay a pet damage deposit equal to half of what you each pay for rent, but I can’t be sure. 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, as they are the experts. I hope this is helpful and best of luck!
Hi I when I moved into my rental house 3 years ago my landlord said it was fine that we had a dog he is 10lbs fully house trained and very friendly. Today when she came she said he was not in the contract and we have to get rid of him. He is 10 and we have had him all his life. Can she male me move or get rid of him??
She has been here numerous times and has never said anything about it before.
Hi Joanna, thanks for reaching out to us with your question. That sounds like a frustrating situation! Like the blog post mentions, 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. They would be the people to chat to for help with this. I hope it works out for you and best of luck!
No they cant in fact on their website it specifically states they can choose to ask for a security deposit or pet deposits. Seems to me that would mean they cant charge both its one or the other.
Can a landlord charge a monthly fee for a pet
Hi Deborah, thanks for your question. I really don’t know the answer to that. I can only speak to my own experience, and I know landlords can typically charge more per month (on average) for for having a pet friendly rental, but I haven’t heard anything about monthly fees. Like I mention in the blog post, this is not Consumer Protection BC’s area of authority/expertise and questions about your rights as a tenant should be directed to the Residential Tenancy Branch of BC. Here’s their contact info: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/contact-the-residential-tenancy-branch. They should be able to answer your questions. I hope this helps and best of luck!
Hi, the building where I live is also charging for pet rent every month (35$) .
We, tenants, are quite upset about that additional fees. The greedy Building mgmt can make more money from us.
How can we stand up and avoid that abusive fee ?
(they also charge for water and everything they can ;/ ).
Hi Nic, thank you for posting your question. If you would like to talk to someone about the pet rent, please contact the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Branch. Here is the page that gives more information about having pets while renting and at the bottom of the page, there is a link to contact the branch. I hope they will be able to give you further guidance on this issue.
Thank you for providing this service.
I am a landlord with tenants who have been given permission to have 2 dogs in their rental. They have added 2 more (before being given permission). All of the dogs pee and poo on the deck (they rarely are taken for walks), and the tenants hose it down and urine and fecal matter drain down into our other basement suite tenant’s area (including her plants).
Other than have our basement suite tenant write a letter of complaint, do you have any suggestions for us? Do you have any tips on writing warning letters concerning this kind of situation? Is this an animal welfare issue?
Hi Marie, thanks for reaching out to us here with your question. That sounds like a frustrating situation. While I wish I could answer your questions directly, the people to talk to about residential tenancies and the rules around your agreement would be the Residential Tenancy Branch. Their contact info is listed in this blog post under “where to go with questions or for more information”. I hope this helps and best of luck resolving the issue!
Can they charge extra rent and a deposit fee?
Hi Breanne, thank you for your inquiry. As this blog post suggests, pet damage deposits may be asked by a landlord. In terms of extra rent, you may want to contact the Residential Tenancy Branch. Here’s their contact information – they should be able to help you answer that question or point you in the right direction. Have a great day!
Hi there, I was wondering if pet rules apply to small, caged creatures (i.e. a hamster)? I dont see what harm it could do from a cage, and my landlord is being very stubborn about this, unwilling to have a mature conversation about it. Thanks in advance!
Hi Curtis, that’s an interesting question! As we do not oversee this area of the law in BC, I would recommend contacting the Residential Tenancy Branch directly. Here’s their contact information. I hope they will be able to answer your question fully.
I have been living in a no pet apartment for over two years now. By old Landlord verbally allowed me to bring in an orphaned cat. Now a year and a half later our new manager of a month is threatening to evict me. How quickly can he evict me for this break in lease.
Hi Ryan – as our blog post suggests, the best place to contact regarding tenancy issues would be the Residential Tenancy Branch. The post itself has more information and the link to their website so please have a read through. I hope you can work out this issue with your landlord!
I am a senior on limited income, but because I have an indoor only Persian cat I cannot live in any of the low cost senior residences…why?
I will never move into anywhere that says I cannot have a pet of my choice….is a tent my only option????
Hi Joyce, thanks for sharing that with us here. I think that landlords are allowed to set the rules around pets in their rental properties. I know it can sometimes be difficult to find pet-friendly homes. Perhaps the Residential Tenancy Branch might have more information for you on this? Maybe you could reach out to them for clarification on the rules. I hope this helps and best of luck!
I have lived in the same house for 10 years and have had a dog the whole time. My landlords allowed this and we gave them a pet deposit of $450. My dog has just recently passed away and my family and I are looking into adopting a new dog. The adopting agency requests a letter of approval from my landlord. When I asked her for one she is now saying that I am not allowed to get a new dog. Is this legal? No where in my rental agreement mentions anything about pets. And I repeat she still has my pet deposit from 10 years ago.
Hi Samara, thanks for taking the time to message us. That sounds like a frustrating situation. Like the blog post suggests, our organization has no legal authority when it comes to residential tenancies. The folks to talk to about this are the Residential Tenancy Branch. You can find their contact information under the heading “Where to go with questions or more information”. I hope you find the information you’re looking for! Thanks!
If a tenants dogs are being unruly (loud at all hours) will landlords be held responsible at any time? Example if bylaw officers are called?
Hi Mya, thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, we do not have any oversight on residential tenancy issues so you may need to contact the British Columbia Residential Tenancy Branch. I hope they will be able to address your question. Good luck!
I have read over my tenancy agreement many times. Nowhere does it say no pets yet my landlord tells me no pets. I have a mental condition that needs the companionship as I live alone.
Hi Kaylea, thanks for your question. I would suggest looking at the Residential Tenancy Branch’s website linked in the blog post above, they will have more information on how the law applies, what your options are, and a way to contact them so you can get this issue resolved.
Hi are pet deposits refundable in Vancouver bc? Thanks
Hi Nikki, thanks for your question. If you’d like to learn more about tenancy rules in BC, you may want to explore The Residential Tenancy Branch’s website. They oversee housing and tenancy in BC. I see they have a page about deposits here: Returning Deposits. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, you can contact them with your question directly. Hope this helps!
when initially moving in my landlords agreed to two cats, after losing one I’ve been living here with just the one cat. I’d like to get another one, am I able to? since we first agreed on me being allowed two does that still stand?
Hey Emma, thanks for your question. While we don’t have authority over tenancy law in BC, the BC Residential Tenancy Branch should be able to answer your question best. You can contact them by visiting this page here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/contact-the-residential-tenancy-branch . Hope this helps!
If a Residential Tenancy Agreement doesn’t mention explicitly that pets are not allowed, is the default that pets are allowed? That is, can a landlord not evict a tenant if they get a pet unless it’s explicitly been stated they’re not allowed? Or is the default ‘no pets’.
None of the information I can find online is clear on this.
Hey Devon, thanks for reaching out. The Residential Tenancy Branch would be able to answer your question best, as we don’t oversee tenancy issues in BC. You can submit your question to them here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies/contact-the-residential-tenancy-branch . Hope this helps!
I live in a multifamily house which is not pet friendly but both of my neighbours have a cat even when we talk with our landlord and he said no, what we can do?
Hi Daniela, thanks for your question. Your landlord is allowed to prohibit pets according to your tenancy agreement, as mentioned in the post above. Any questions about tenancies should go to the Residential Tenancy Branch – the link to their website can be found above. I hope this helps!
If I am renewing the lease for a second year and my pet has passed away, does the landlord need to return the pet deposit?
They are welcome to inspect the home first of course.
Thanks for reaching out, Rachel. Sorry to hear about your pet. I suggest reaching out to the Residential Tenancy Branch, as they oversee tenancy in BC and are best suited to answer your question. I hope this helps!