Skip to main content

SPCA, opposition party unite to fight no-pets clause in Quebec leases

The SPCA is promoting a petition to abolish no-pets clauses in residential leases as far too many animals are being abandoned. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis) The SPCA is promoting a petition to abolish no-pets clauses in residential leases as far too many animals are being abandoned. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Québec Solidaire (QS) MNA Mannon Massé is supporting an SPCA petition to abolish the no-pet clause in residential leases, saying it adversely affects low-income renters.

The petition is part of the SPCA's Keeping Families Together campaign.

"Every year, countless Quebec residents are forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to part with their beloved animal, whom they consider a member of their family, in order to secure affordable rental housing," the SPCA said in a news release on Monday.

The SPCA notes there is a scarcity of animal-friendly housing in Montreal at a time when rent and costs of living are increasing.

“Given that we are in an election year, the time is right to urge the government to declare no-pet clauses in residential leases null and without effect, as has been done elsewhere in the world,” said Sophie Gaillard, the SPCA's director of animal advocacy and legal affairs.

Massé adds that the no-pets clause disproportionately affects low-income people who are struggling to find affordable housing.

“Every year, in addition to the difficulty of finding reasonably priced housing, it is very difficult for tenants to find housing where animals are accepted," she said. "This often results in situations where people are forced to abandon their animals against their will.”


Quebec Landlords Association president Martin Messier said there are two reasons why no-pets clauses are needed.

First, landlords need to consider the building's upkeep and the other occupants' comfort and safety.

"Very often we have other tenants that are preoccupied with the fact that the landlord may or may not accept animals in the building, mainly because of the disturbance that it may cause them but also because of allergies," he said.

Second, Messier said some pet owners do not "act in the best interest of either their pets or their neighbours."

"Leaving the pet alone, leaving it so it will bark if it's a dog, letting the pet do his business on the grounds of the building without attending what needs to be done after that," said Messier.

Messier added that if a landlord could collect a security deposit, it would alleviate some stress.

"We've seen cases of units almost having to be fully restored because the pet was doing his business inside," he said. "There's no way to legally ask for a security deposit so landlords are concerned for damages that may be caused to their unit."

Messier said the landlords association has lobbied the Quebec government to allow them to ask for security deposits when a tenant moves in with a pet, but those efforts have been unsuccessful. 


In 2021, polling company Léger found that the number of domestic cats and dogs increased in Quebec by 200,000 -- to 3.25 million.

Quebec leads the country, according to the survey, as 52 per cent of households have a pet of some kind.

The survey notes that 36 per cent of Quebec homes have a cat and 28 per cent have a dog.

Contrarily, the SPCA says 4.2 per cent of landlords currently allow a dog to live with its owner in a rental unit.

"Throughout the year, nearly one animal per day ends up being abandoned at the Montreal SPCA due to a move, notwithstanding the hundreds of calls the SPCA receives from people who have difficulty finding a pet-friendly home," the SPCA said. Top Stories

Stay Connected