Millions Could Be Affected By New Pet Laws

A new bill submitted to the California legislature would require landlords to permit tenants to bring pets into their homes.

The Democratic assembly member for the eastern part of San Francisco, Matt Haney, proposed to draft new legislation in February that would increase the list of activities a landlord cannot forbid a tenant from doing. If passed, Assembly Bill 2216 would not implement the change, but it would indicate that the legislature intends to draft a bill that will.

Haney, one of only five state legislators out of 120 who rent their homes, has been advocating for bettering the state’s renters’ circumstances. In a press release on Tuesday, she stated that while close to 12 million of California’s 17 million renters own pets, only about 30% of rental properties in cities allow pets.

According to his office, the percentage of rental properties that accepted pets in San Francisco was about 21%, whereas the rate in Los Angeles was slightly higher at 26%.

Haney contended that the pet-friendly housing shortage was denying families access to attractive housing and that hundreds of thousands of people were renting with pets in violation of their leases and without sufficient insurance coverage.

Haney’s office reports that a survey conducted among 240 animal shelters in the state revealed that nearly 68,000 pets were turned in by their owners, with a primary reason cited as a lack of access to pet-friendly housing. 

Concerns regarding the potential effects of the draft legislation on their exposure to property liability have already been voiced by landlords.

The Property Owners Association in Berkeley executive director Krista Gulbransen, said that the bill would take away landlords’ freedom to decide whether or not to assume the additional risk of property damage that comes with having a pet in the house.

In response, Haney said there would be exceptions to the new law, possibly including limitations on health and nuisances.