Here's how new CA bill would eliminate housing barriers for pet owners

Lauren Martinez Image
Thursday, April 11, 2024
How new CA bill would eliminate housing barriers for pet owners
A bill that would limit landlords from denying housing to pet owners is making its way through the California Legislature.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A bill that would limit landlords from denying housing to pet owners is making its way through the legislature.

San Jose resident Beverly Owens said it's hard enough finding a home that allow pets.

Her place had a 40-pound dog limit but once her property owner met sweet Heidi at 50 pounds, they were able to work it out.

"Once she met her, she thought she was just to die for," Owens said.

Dog moms and cat dads say it hasn't been easy navigating the rental market.

MORE: New CA bill would make housing more accessible for renters with pets

Martha Rodriguez said the mobile home park she currently lives at allows dogs inside, but signs posted outside say no walking dogs.

"Somebody took a picture of me with him walking and they called the office," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez made her dog Marley an emotional support animal to avoid trouble.

Cupertino resident Jeff Mullen said when he applied for a house in San Jose, they had a no pets policy; so he offered to pay more monthly and double the deposit.

"So I just offered financially what kind of money is going to make them say yes, you can let the dog in the house and live here," Mullen said.

MORE: North Bay housing report finds discrimination against Latino renters in 3 counties

San Francisco Assemblymember Matt Haney who authored the bill AB 2216 says, 70% of California renters have pets but only 30% of open rentals accept them.

In San Francisco, only 21% of rentals on the market allow pets.

"Landlords simply need to have a reasonable rationale for whatever limitations and restrictions they are providing for. If you got a brand new building, you can't just say no dogs or cats allowed - that's not reasonable," Assemblymember Haney said.

Property owners and associations are expressing concerns about the bill.

Debra Carlton, executive vice president with the California Apartment Association, said during Tuesday's Committee meeting that she's not opposing pets - their biggest concern is around the security deposit.

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"What we're looking for is at least some consideration that there is a cost. Currently under our security deposit law, the tenant can use that one month's security to pay for the rent on the way out the door that leaves us nothing for repairs to the unit," Carlton said.

Haney says the bill is about trying to strike a balance -- it's not forcing every landlord to take a pet.

He's currently in negotiations to amend parts of the bill.

"Maybe they can have a little more on the pet deposit to protect against damage, if it means that we get rid of the pet rent and also offer some more pet friendly policies and access for owners," Haney said.

This week, the bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and moves forward to the floor.

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