Enhancing Access to Quality Rental Housing for Pet Owners

Room: St Laurent

Taryn M. Graham, Research Associate, York University

Finding rental housing that allows pets can be very difficult. Many pet owners are forced to choose unsuitable properties or to keep pets without permission. In some cases, owners must give up their pets in order to access housing. The number of animals that are relinquished due to housing issues is especially problematic for vulnerable populations (e.g., pet owners experiencing homelessness, domestic violence situations or natural disaster circumstances), during peak moving seasons (e.g., Montreal moving day), tight rental market conditions (e.g., Toronto and Vancouver), and economic downturns (e.g., Alberta).

This presentation examines an intervention area that has yet to be addressed in the Canadian context: housing access and quality among tenants with pets. It does so by drawing on Canadian news articles, policy documents, animal welfare websites, interviews with tenants and a survey of landlords and property managers. This presentation ends by offering tips for renting responsibly with pets, which includes innovative strategies to mitigate the potential for animals to cause threats or nuisance.


  1. Dispelling common myths about pets in rental housing.
  2. Demonstrating how restrictions on pets in rental housing impact human health and animal welfare.
  3. Discussing good practice guidelines for landlords and property managers as well as tenants.

Born and raised in Montreal, Taryn is now living and working in Toronto after having recently finished her PhD at the University of Calgary. Her research looks into the challenges and opportunities that urban Canadians face when it comes to sharing spaces with dogs. Taryn is also the founder of PAWSitive Leadership, a humane education program that uses dog-related research to teach compassion to kids. For the past decade, she has been actively involved with numerous animal rescue organizations. She also has experience training dogs.