According to section 18 of the Residential Tenancy Act, landlords can restrict pets entirely, or set limits on the number, size, or type of pets a tenant can have in their rental unit. If your landlord allows you to have a pet, it is important to include that term in your tenancy agreement. Do not rely on verbal permission alone – make sure it is in writing. See Residential Tenancy Branch Policy Guideline 28 for more information.
Guide dogs: If you have a dog that falls under the Guide Dog and Service Dog Act, your landlord must allow it and cannot require a pet damage deposit.
If you are allowed to have a pet, your landlord can require a pet damage deposit of up to half the monthly rent. See TRAC’s webpage, Security / Pet Damage Deposits, for more information.
You and your landlord are required to complete a condition inspection report at the start of your tenancy, and at any point during your tenancy when you get a pet. If you do not participate in the inspection, you may lose the right to the return of your pet damage deposit. If your landlord does not provide two opportunities to do the inspection, or provide you with a completed copy of the report, they may lose their right to claim against your pet damage deposit for damages.
When searching for pet-friendly housing, consider providing potential landlords with positive information about your pet. Do you have pet references? Information about the breed? Certificates from a Training Academy? Try to show that you are a responsible pet owner, and that your pet has a history of being non-destructive, reasonably quiet, and friendly to neighbours.
See the BCSPCA’s Sample Pet Resume.