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New Rental Bill in California Will Potentially Ban Landlords From Asking Tenants About Pets

Assemblyman Matt Haney’s AB 2216 proposes changes to rental regulations in California, specifically targeting pet-related inquiries by landlords to enhance housing options for pet owners amidst the state’s housing crisis.

Addressing Pet Bans

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AB 2216 seeks to eliminate “blanket pet bans” in rental units, allowing landlords to inquire about pets only after approving a rental application. 

The bill aims to provide fair opportunities for pet owners to secure housing.

Impact of Housing Crisis

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In light of California’s housing crisis, Haney emphasizes the urgency of removing additional barriers for renters, particularly pet owners, in accessing suitable accommodation. 

He argues that pet restrictions exacerbate the housing shortage.

Pet Ownership Statistics

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Statistics reveal that approximately 70 percent of California renters, around 12 million individuals, own pets. 

However, only 30 percent of rental units statewide are pet-friendly, exacerbating housing challenges for pet-owning renters.

Hidden Pet Ownership

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Due to limited pet-friendly housing options, an estimated 829,000 renters in California keep pets secretly without landlord knowledge, leading to the surrender of pets to shelters due to housing issues.

Support from Advocates

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AB 2216 is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, emphasizing the importance of providing housing options for both people and their pets. 

Advocates assert that tenants should not face housing discrimination based on pet ownership.

Landlord Concerns

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Some landlords express concerns about the potential burdens of additional regulations, citing challenges such as liability issues, property damage, and increased costs for small property owners.

Legislative Opposition

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Landlords argue that pets in rental units are not a one-size-fits-all issue, highlighting concerns such as resident safety, insurance challenges, and property damage risks.

They caution against imposing additional regulations on landlords.

Pet-Friendly Policies

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Cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles offer limited pet-friendly rentals, with rates as low as 21 percent and 26 percent, respectively. 

AB 2216 aims to address this disparity and promote more inclusive housing policies.

Legal Implications

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AB 2216’s introduction on Feb. 7 initiates the legislative process, with hearings scheduled in Assembly committees until March 9. 

The bill’s progress will determine its potential impact on both tenants and landlords statewide.

Advocacy Efforts

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Supporters of AB 2216 continue to advocate for its passage, emphasizing the importance of fair housing opportunities for pet owners and the need to address the housing crisis in California.

Future Outlook

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As discussions around AB 2216 unfold, stakeholders closely monitor its progress and potential implications. 

The bill represents a significant step towards ensuring equitable housing access for all Californians, including pet owners, amidst ongoing housing challenges.

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