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New Bill Could Limit Landlords Denying Pet Owners

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Pet Ownership

While still in the early stages, bill AB 2216, might soon give pet owners looking for housing a bit more relief. Authored by Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), the bill aims to “bar property owners from asking about pets on applications, prohibit additional monthly fees for pet owners, also known as ‘pet rent,’ and limit pet deposits.” 

As the housing market currently stands, there are more tenants with pets than there are landlords who accept them in their buildings. Haney’s staff evaluated Zillow listings and came to the conclusion that only approximately 26% of apartment listings in Los Angeles accept pets of any size, while 72% of renters say that finding pet-friendly housing is difficult. 

“A two-tiered system that punishes people for having pets, or treats them differently, or has a greater burden on them just for that fact should not be allowed in the law,” Haney said.

The bill aims to prohibit landlords from not only inquiring about pets on applications, but also ban them from charging an additional “pet rent” or fee per animal.  The Humane Society of the United States is a major sponsor of the bill, arguing that current tenant laws are one of the biggest factors of why so many pets are abandoned at shelters.

Opponents of the bill argue that there needs to be a middle ground and that tenants should still be able to have some control to protect their properties from potential damage. 

Since animals may inflict damage, opponents argue that if the tenant doesn’t have any monetary responsibility owed to the landlords, the landlords are stuck dealing with the issue.  There has to be some determination of potential risk and the tenant’s responsibility to correct their pet’s actions. 

“What we see too often is just these blanket prohibitions of pets with no good reason for it, with no required justification for it and no protection of pet owners, who represent the majority of California’s renters, to be able to access housing just like anyone else,” Haney said.

While there are current laws already in place in regards to emotional support or service animals, AB 2216 would be the first pet bill of its kind. The bill will continue to be ratified and amended in the coming months. 


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