I love pets... all kinds. Dogs, cats, birds, fish... Of course, having a pet requires one to be responsible for them as well. I would like to think that most people are, however sadly, there are some that are not. When you have your own pet, in your own property, then any potential damage that pet could cause is your problem.
However when you have a pet and live (aka rent or lease) on someone else's property, an entirely new "can of worms" comes into play.
Let's face it. Being a landlord isn't an easy task. If you have your own property up for rent, or managing someone else's property... you have to follow the rules set out under the Landlord and Tenancy Act. This act should equally protect both the landlords rights, as well as those of the tenant. Seems reasonable, right? People are required to pay a security deposit, which is normally the same as one months rent, and according to the law it isn't allowed to exceed one months rent. So it doesn't matter if you are a single person, or a group of people (with or without children), you pay the same price. Seems reasonable too.
But if you are a pet owner, those rules go out the proverbial window. Clearly, the possibility of the pet causing damage (urine etc on carpets and floors, scratching of doors and floors and walls and carpets, and any other thing that a pet could do...) to the property has increased. And landlords should have the right to require additional assurances to allow for those times when things happen. But since the law says that a security deposit can not exceed 1 months rent, landlords are now charging a "pet deposit". The problem with this is... it's not really a deposit, because the landlord is not required to refund it.
This is WRONG. The legislation needs to be changed, and it needs to be changed NOW. Allow for an increase within the legislation, that permits landlords to exceed the 'maximum one months rent' limit so that pets become part of the security deposit, which makes those fees refundable when the tenant moves out. Responsible pet owners will then be taken care of. If the pet causes no damage, they will get those amounts refunded. There doesn't need to be any "differences", as in "part 'A' of the deposit applies to normal things and part 'B' of the deposit applies to pets". So even if the pets caused no damages, but the property is trashed, the landlord still has the right to use the entire amount of the deposit to make repairs etc.
As it stands now, pet owners are being abused by the process, and in fairness to responsible pet owners (which I submit are the majority of the people) the Government needs to stop allowing landlords the right to rip people off.
YOU must speak up, and let YOUR voice be heard. You can send in a letter or email or fax, and tell the Government of Alberta to stop allowing landlords having a license to print money.
Attention Consumer Programs
10155 - 102 street
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 4L4
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax to 780-422-9106
By the way, in my humble opinion, the legislation should be made retroactive to cover all people that have paid "pet deposits"... It's only fair!