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Struggle to find pet-friendly apartments leads to more surrenders at SPCA


The hunt for affordable housing is becoming increasingly challenging in Montreal, and advocates say this is especially true for pet owners.

The Montreal SPCA has witnessed a jump in calls this moving season from renters who can't take their animals with them because their building doesn't allow pets.

"It's more than in previous years. In fact, we're going back to pre-pandemic levels," said Montreal SPCA executive director Elise Desaulniers.

The SPCA says owners struggling to find pet-friendly apartments are showing up at the shelter daily to surrender their animals.

Desaulniers said it's been difficult to keep up.

"It's quite a challenge for us to take care of those animals," she said. "We don't have enough people."

With low vacancy rates, it's tough competition to find an affordable apartment in Montreal right now. Housing advocates say options are even more limited for pet owners, as many leases contain no-pet clauses.

"We noticed there are more and more uncertain places. [It's] difficult for these tenants who have animals," said Catherine Lussier, an organizer with housing advocacy group FRAPRU. "Unfortunately it's another condition of discrimination."

The SPCA and Quebec Solidaire are pushing for the government to ban no-pet clauses, saying they disproportionately affect low-income renters.

But the Quebec Landlords Association (APQ) says these clauses are often needed to avoid property damage and noise complaints.

"We're caught in the middle because we have to [ensure] the peaceful enjoyment of the premises," said APQ president Martin Messier.

A third of all landlords in the province accept pets, according to the APQ, but Messier said this number would be higher if the Quebec government allowed them to charge security deposits.

"If I got to the hotel with my little yorkie for the night, they will charge me several hundred dollars as a security deposit for one night. We're asking the landlord to accept pets without [a] security deposit -- it doesn't make sense." Top Stories

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