California Bill Aims to Prohibit Landlords From Denying Renters With Dogs – RedState

California Bill Aims to Prohibit Landlords From Denying Renters With Dogs – RedState

In a move that will have tails wagging in California, a state lawmaker has introduced a bill designed to throw a bone to pet owners seeking to rent apartments or homes. The proposed legislation would prohibit landlords from barring tenants from having pets in their rental units.

AB 2216, which Assemblyman Matt Haney proposed, requires landlords to have “reasonable reasons” for denying pets in their rental properties. However, even a cursory glance at this legislation reveals yet more unnecessary meddling in a vital industry.

The chair of the California Legislative Renters Caucus, Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) has introduced legislation that prohibits blanket pet bans in rental units in California. AB 2216 will require landlords to have reasonable reason(s) for not allowing a pet in a rental unit and only allows landlords to ask about pet ownership after a tenant’s application has been approved.

California has the second highest number of tenants in the country, with 17 million families and individuals renting — close to 12 million, or 70% of these renters are pet owners. Unfortunately only under current law only 30% of available rentals in any given city are pet friendly. In San Francisco only 21% of the available rentals currently on the market allow for pets. Similarly, despite having close to 3 million pet owning renters, only 26% of Los Angeles rentals allow for pets.

“One of our main strategies to address the housing crisis has been building more housing,” said Assemblymember Haney. “We have to keep building housing, and much faster, but we won’t be able to solve this crisis if 12 million people across the state are being denied access to that housing because they have a companion pet. The majority of renters in our state, pet owners, are denied access to the majority of rental units. That makes no sense at all and it’s dramatically exacerbating the housing crisis.”

The lack of pet friendly housing is causing more than 829,000 tenants to have pets in their units without the knowledge of their landlord. This leaves landlords without adequate coverage for potential damages that could be mitigated if they knew their tenants had a pet such as pet insurance, or reasonable pet restrictions.

The bill comes at a critical time as Golden State residents grapple with a severe housing crisis. According to Haney’s press release, the lack of pet-friendly rental options contributes to the problem of housing accessibility. Andrea Amavisca, a Sacramento resident, recounted that she and her partner “searched for over a month for a 2 bedroom rental unit that would allow for my small cattle dog mix.”

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a prominent animal rights organization, is a sponsor of the bill. Jenny Berg, the organization’s California State Director, argued that “Housing is a fundamental right that should not be limited because tenants are forced to choose between keeping their pet or putting a roof over their head.”

Despite how much people love their pets, this legislation is another example of government overreach that would impose undue burdens on landlords and could also exacerbate the housing issues it seeks to mitigate. Mandating that landlords come up with a “reasonable reason” to deny pets introduces a level of subjectivity that might discourage these individuals from renting out their property. After all, who is to determine what constitutes a “reasonable reason” when prohibiting pets on one’s property?

Moreover, there are additional risks to allowing pets on one’s rental property. It could lead to increased insurance premiums and maintenance costs, which would be passed on to potential tenants. Living in California is already expensive enough without adding more reasons to raise rents.

The other issue, of course, is the fact that the state should have no business dictating what people do with their own property. If there is a market for renting to pet owners, then it will offer this option without the nanny state putting its grubby authoritarian paws all over the matter. The bottom line is that people should be allowed to choose what to do with their property without pet owners weaponizing the government against them.

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