The sad advantage of not having pets in an apartment
Looking for an apartment in Montreal in 2022 is not that simple. Our journalist Gabrielle Morin-Lefebvre tells us about the ups and downs of her experience as a future tenant.
BLOG – “Hello, we are a non-smoking and pet-free couple”: this is the beginning of the message that I constantly send to owners by email when I am interested in an accommodation. I realized that not having a pet is really a (sad) asset when you want an apartment.
In addition to promising them that their block will not smell of disgusting old cigarettes, I reassure my future owners: their floors will not be scratched by little Labrador claws.
Tenants write everything they can to get keys to a place, you know. Anything that can be an advantage over others.
Not having a pet is one. And I find that… sad.
I have always loved dogs. Maybe one day I will have one. Not now, of course. But maybe when I move again in five or ten years, who knows.
Of course, I will take care of it body and soul. That's why I don't have one now: I don't have the time or the means. It will have to be a well-considered commitment. It's not a small toy. He is a living being who depends on me to feed him, take him to the vet, train him, wash him and above all, love him.
Really necessary goodbyes?
I offer you a short rhetorical story to express how heartbreaking separating a dog from his master can be. All this for an apartment.
Here is the scenario: we are in the future. I have had a dog for five years.
I have been in a pet friendly apartment for years. Everything is fine. Then overnight, I was the victim of an illegal housing repossession. I'm on the street now, with Fido.
I find myself a hotel that accepts animals, while waiting to find a new apartment. And there, the housing crisis that continues to bite me in the face. I can't find an apartment that accepts dogs. Each time, I get rejections.
Then I have to resign myself: I find accommodation without animals.
Because I couldn't find someone to take care of my dog around me, Pitou ended up at the SPCA on July 1st.
With a heavy heart, I leave him there, in a cage. I avoid crossing his soft and naive gaze which follows me to the exit. His tail beats happily behind me: for him, this is not a goodbye. He does not understand.
I push open the doors of the building located on rue Jean-Talon. Maybe I was a mother then too. Maybe I have a three year old daughter with me. She is inconsolable. I carry her in my arms to the car.
Fido will always be waiting for me. But I'll never come back to take it.
A very real-story
This story has never happened to me personally (and fortunately).
However, it is very real for many families, especially during the moving season.
Only 4.2% of homeowners accept dogs in Quebec… even though 25% of Quebec households have at least one, reports the SPCA. And that statistic is just for dogs. Because no less than 52% of the population has a pet, all species combined.
Even sadder? The number of animals abandoned at the Montreal branch of the organization triples in the months before and after July 1. This number increases from 600 to 1600 per month during this period. It's huge!
A dog in an animal shelter. The Montreal SPCA receives 1,600 abandoned pets during the months before and after July 1 each year. PHOTO: iStock
Maybe I should give up on my long-term dream of having a pet.
The fear of the floor ruined by an animal potential that is too excited is very present among owners. I see it just by searching the internet. Of more than a dozen listings for rental accommodations recently reviewed, I only found one where pets were allowed in the apartment. A.
For readers who are on the verge of being kicked out with their parakeets, hamsters or cats: be aware that no pet clauses do not apply in Ontario or France. Then, at least, on July 1st… you will know where to move.
Whose the fault?
In an article in Devoir published in 2021, the Corporation of Real Estate Owners of Quebec (CORPIQ) assures that 25% of dogs are accepted in the housing of its members, while cats are accepted at 71%.
The reluctance towards animals comes mainly from residents of buildings, according to a CORPIQ study conducted in 2015 by Léger. No less than 63% of tenants surveyed said that having a dog in an apartment is “inappropriate”.