No Pets Allowed: Landlord Attitudes Towards Pets in a Small Canadian City

Carla Krachun
University of Saskatchewan
Department of Psychology

McLennon J. G. Wilson
University of Waterloo
Department of Psychology

Joshua Hoddinott
University of Western Ontario
Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Neuroscience Program

Pet ownership is associated with greater mental and physical well-being, but it can also make some aspects of life more difficult. For example, many landlords have a ‘no-pets’ policy, which is especially problematic in areas where rental units are already in short supply. We examined landlords’ attitudes towards tenants with pets in a small North American city with a consistently low vacancy rate. Sources of data included classified advertisements over a 15-year period and telephone interviews with 32 landlords currently advertising rental units. Questions examined included: has the proportion of landlords adopting a no-pets policy increased over time; which specific concerns do landlords have about pets; and what factors, if any, might increase landlords’ willingness to allow pets? Preliminary analyses indicate an increase over time in the proportion of ads explicitly stating a no-pets policy, from less than a third in the early 2000s to more than half in the most recent years examined. These proportions were related to fluctuating vacancy rates. Interviews with landlords revealed concerns about pets that focused mostly on potential damage to rental units, with their concerns sometimes based upon past experiences. However, landlords also reported encountering similar problems when renting to tenants without pets, and of the 18 landlords who had initially posted ads explicitly stating a no-pets policy, 8 said that they would nevertheless consider pets under some conditions. Pet owners may be able to increase their ease of finding housing by addressing these factors.