Québec Solidaire is throwing a bone to pet owners in the midst of the province's ongoing housing crisis. The party introduced Quebec's first bill aimed at allowing animals in residential spaces in the National Assembly on May 25. If passed, the bill would make it illegal for rental properties to turn away tenants with four-legged roommates.
The legislation, presented by Laurier-Dorion MNA and Québec Solidaire housing critic Andrés Fontecilla, aims to relieve the stress of pet owners hunting for affordable housing.
"There are 36 days left before July 1 and what we see on the ground is that finding accommodation that accepts animals in the midst of a housing crisis has become a real obstacle course," Fontecilla said in a statement.
"It's already difficult this year to find affordable housing, and even more so if you have a pet. It is unacceptable that thousands of Quebecers have to choose between abandoning their four-legged friend or finding housing when the solution is simple," he said.
Bill 494 would amend the Civil Code to do away with 'no pets' clauses in rental contracts. The bill would apply to new leases and include existing contracts in a transitional clause.
Sophie Gaillard of the Montreal SPCA noted the number of pets abandoned during moving season could decrease dramatically with the passage of this bill. "Finding accommodation that accepts animals is one of the main reasons for abandonment in shelters. This is why we have been fighting for more than ten years to have the clauses of residential leases that prohibit animals invalidated," she said.
Backing the bill, Manon Massé spoke of the well-documented health benefits of pets. "They reduce stress, blood pressure and even help break the isolation of single people, especially seniors. There are even studies that suggest that seniors who have a pet consult their doctor 30% less often… Allowing people to keep their pets in their homes can bring a lot of well-being to tenants at a time when the housing crisis is raging" said QS leader Manon Massé.
In response, the Association of Quebec Landlords (APQ) called the bill "unjust and inappropriate," noting disturbance to other tenants and potential property damage as significant issues.
The proposed legislation is expected to face debate, with perspectives varying on whether it is the right solution for the existing issues around housing and pet ownership.
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