Moving season is always a very busy time for animal shelters in Quebec, but it was likely to be even busier this year. The pandemic’s impact on people’s income, the historic shortage in housing and the delays in construction make finding a rental very difficult for everyone, but all the more so for families with animals. Since June 1, over a hundred distressed families have contacted the Montreal SPCA — often in tears —because they are unable to find affordable housing where they can bring their animals.
These are responsible people who love and take very good care of their dog, cat or rabbit, but who are forcibly separated from their companions simply because they cannot find affordable, animal-friendly housing. “These families are victims of the situation and have run out of options. Refusing to rent to them means forcing them to abandon their animals, whom they consider a full-fledged member of their family,” says Élise Desaulniers, Executive Director at the Montreal SPCA. “This is a sad and unfair situation,” she adds.
Faced with this distressing reality, the Montreal SPCA launched a campaign last April calling for Corporation des propriétaires immobiliers du Québec (CORPIQ) members to show solidarity and leniency, by permitting families to bring their companion animals along to their new homes. Since then, the petition has received overwhelming public support, with more than 25,000 signatories. Landlords hold the key to alleviating this extremely distressing situation for thousands of families. Since people move all summer long, there is still time to show solidarity and limit the extent of this disaster that is currently affecting far too many families.
Remember that according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), only 1.8% of rental units are available in Quebec and 1.5% in Montreal, the lowest vacancy rates since 2004. With fewer housing options to choose from, low-income families with an animal are all the more penalized.
The SPCA reminds landlords that the obligations of all tenants, whether or not they have an animal, remain the same. Renters have the legal responsibility to keep their dwelling in good condition and ensure others’ peaceful enjoyment of the premises.
— Montreal SPCA