California Legislature passed a new law ensuring that social housing tenants will no longer have to choose between giving up their pets for their own housing needs.
Senate Bill (SB) 971 will require that any housing development funded on or after January 1, 2023 by the Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) allow tenants to own or maintain one or more common pets in low-income rental accommodation with no monthly fees or unreasonable restrictions.
Pets, such as dogs or cats, will be kept for pleasure rather than commercial purposes. In addition to ownership, the law requires tenants to properly care for their pets, including taking care of their health.
Running housing regulations allow owners to place strict restrictions on pet ownership. This can prevent tenants from keeping their pets and often requires them to be abandoned to animal shelters.
These regulations affect tenants of low income housing at a disproportionate rate. Social housing that is both sure and pets included is rare, forcing tenants with limited budgets to abandon their pets in overcrowded animal shelters, which places a greater strain on local public resources.
For tenants who are able to find social housing listed as “accepts pets”, this is when the conflict with housing restrictions begins.
Restrictions at these pet-friendly properties that are no longer allowed in low-income developments under the new law include:
- high monthly fees, or “animal rental”;
- bans on specific pet breeds; and
- weight limits.
However, reasonable terms for the ownership and maintenance of pets will remain in place. These reasonable terms include policies on:
- harmful behavior;
- leash requirements;
- liability insurance; and
- the number of pets allowed determined by the size of each unit.
Although the law prohibits owners from designating certain dog breeds as dangerous, the owner can still prohibit individual dogs that are Potentially dangerous Where vicious. [Calif. Food and Agricultural Code §§31602; 31603]
Owners may impose refundable security deposits. However, a monthly fee for the possession or maintenance of domestic animals may not be imposed.
A healthy choice
The importance of this bill goes beyond allowing tenants to own pets. Owning pets has been shown to benefit a person’s mental and physical health. welfare.
Owning pets has a wide range of health benefits, including:
- improve mental health;
- increase physical exercise;
- increase outdoor activities;
- decrease in blood pressure;
- improve the mood and morale of their owners; and
- promote healthy socialization, especially among the elderly and disabled, according to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.
Under current housing regulations, tenants are limited in their ability to own a pet. For rental units that Is allow the ownership and maintenance of pets, tenants face strict restrictions and high monthly fees.
By relaxing the regulations, tenants of new social housing will no longer have to worry about compliance with these standards. This not only alleviates the emotional turmoil of abandoning a family member, but also improves the overall health of tenants.
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