An annual crisis
Every summer, around moving day, thousands of Quebec residents are forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to part with a beloved pet, whom they consider a member of their family, in order to secure affordable rental housing. Indeed, though one in two Quebec households has a pet, only 4.2% of landlords accept tenants with dogs. This restriction disproportionately affects low-income families, who have more limited opportunities for housing.
The situation is devastating, not only to the families who find themselves unable to keep their pets, but for the animals themselves. In the months surrounding moving day, the number of animals abandoned at the Montreal SPCA nearly triples, from around 600 a month to approximately 1600.
Faced with a similar problem, the Ontario government responded by enacting legislation invalidating no-pet clauses in leases in the 1990’s. Similarly, France and Belgium have judged no-pet clauses in residential leases to be unreasonable, abusive, and contrary to public order, and have consequently declared them null and void.
The Montreal SPCA believes it is time for Quebec to follow suit. In March 2015, we launched a provincial petition sponsored by MNA Manon Massé to invalidate no-pet clauses in residential leases. Though the petition received overwhelming public support, collecting over 22,000 signatures in three months, the provincial government refused to take action. To view the government’s official response, please click here (available in French only).
Despite this disappointing turn of events, the Montreal SPCA will continue to work tirelessly to make no-pet clauses a thing of the past. In the meantime, we provide you with tools to assist you in finding pet-friendly housing, as well as some tips on how to deal with a problematic landlord or syndicate of co-owners below.
Looking for pet-friendly housing?
- Click here for some suggestions on how to facilitate your search for pet-friendly housing.
- Visit Appartmap to find pet friendly rentals in your area.
Currently experiencing difficulties with your landlord in relation to your pet?
- Click here for information on your rights and obligations, as well as for some tips on how to deal with your landlord.
- Download a model letter to send to your landlord by clicking here.
Currently experiencing difficulties with your syndicate of co-owners in relation to your pet?
Any clause prohibiting the possession of pets in a declaration of co-ownership is invalid and thus without legal effect. However, at all times, a condominium owner who wishes to exert his/her right to have an animal must do so in a reasonable fashion and in such a way as to not interfere with other owners’ enjoyment of the property.
Download a model letter to send to your syndicate of co-owners by clicking here.
Please note that the information contained on the Montreal SPCA’s website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion of any kind, nor does its provision form the basis of a lawyer-client relationship. The Montreal SPCA recommends obtaining independent legal counsel regarding any specific legal issues. While The Montreal SPCA has made reasonable efforts to ensure that the information contained on this website are accurate, it does not guarantee the accuracy, currency, or completeness of the material.
For additional information on the issue of no-pet clauses in residential leases, consult our frequently asked questions (FAQ) by clicking here.
To express your support for the right to posses animals in residential units and to obtain legislative change on this issue, we encourage you to communicate with Martin Coiteux, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Regions and Land Occupancy at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For a model letter to send to Mr. Coiteux click here.