Ordinance would force Berkeley landlords to accept pets

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A proposed law in Berkeley has property owners barking mad. On Tuesday, a councilman will introduce an ordinance that would require all landlords to accept pets.

The ordinance is expected to take months of community input and adjustments. But if it eventually passes, it would mean huge changes in Berkeley.

"The money I get in a security deposit would never cover re-carpeting an apartment, it wouldn't even approach it," said Berkeley landlord Sasha Futran.

Futran loves animals. That doesn't mean she opens her triplex to every dog and cat.

"I can't just have a free for all policy because I happen to know it will cause me and the tenant problems," she said.

For now, she's able to restrict pets. But that could change after Berkeley Councilmember Jesse Arreguin proposes a new ordinance on Tuesday.

It would forbid landlords from restricting any type of well-behaved pet.

"I fundamentally think that tenants should have the same rights as homeowners in having pets," he said.

Arregiun says the ordinance would allow more families to adopt shelter animals by reducing pressure on the hot housing market.

On Craigslist Monday, 130 apartments are available in Berkeley. If you have a cat or dog, the number drops to just 27.

The Berkeley Property Owners Association feels the ordinance is out of line.

"Landlords are willing to take pets, but not when you can't control the situation; it's an issue of control, more than pets," said Albert Sukoff with the Berkeley Property Owners Association.

Mark Khmelmitskiy moved to Berkeley from Russia.

He knows he got lucky finding an apartment that accepted Chekov four years ago.
Especially after seeing what his friends have gone through.

"I've heard from several of my friends (about) the desire to have a pet but their landlords do not allow dogs," Khmelmitskiy said.

Even he's not sure the proposal is a good idea.

"I don't like blanket no," Khmelmitskiy said. "And I don't like a law that says blanket yes."

He says that doesn't feel like freedom.
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