Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals and Pet-friendly Apartments

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There is no denying it; we are a pet-owning nation! A recent poll by Ipsos stated that 35 per cent of Canadian households have a dog and another 38 per cent have a cat. I suspect the statistics here in Brandon are similar, so we are fortunate to have plenty of pet-friendly options when it comes to rental property in the city.

If you are thinking of renting an apartment or purchasing a condominium, homeowners and renters should research the rules and regulations set out by the landlord, property owner or manager regarding pets, emotional support and service animals before signing a purchase or rental agreement.

The Human Right Commission of Manitoba states that a service animal is an animal that is specifically trained to perform work or tasks directly related to a person’s physical or mental disability. 

When determining if an animal is a service animal, landlords may ask for proof that the animal has had the training to support the disability. Those who own a service animal may have a certificate that will have the animals name on it, the type of training that was completed, as well as the organization that provided the training. Service animals have been specifically trained and have a serious job to do and therefore they are treated differently than a pet.

Animals that provide comfort, companionship, and emotional support, but are not trained to assist with a person’s disability, are not service animals. They are considered a pet.

If your four-legged, furry friend does not qualify as a service animal, there is good news. There are literally hundreds of pet-friendly apartments in Brandon and most allow cats or small dogs, plus other animals as well.

All you have to do is meet the criteria for the pets as set by the property management company. If your animal meets the criteria, most properties ask for a pet deposit (normally an extra half month of rent to a maximum of a full month of rent) and you can live happily ever after with your fur baby.

Keep in mind that some property management companies, as well as some of the condominium complexes within the city, do have restrictions on the size of the dogs. This is usually done to protect other tenants (those who do not own a pet) who may be frightened by large dogs when using the common areas of the complex. 

The weight and size of dogs (mostly in terms of their claws) are often a factor to consider when it comes to wear and tear on the flooring. As laminate and vinyl plank flooring is so popular in a lot of new construction, property owners want to protect their investment from deep scratches of large dogs.

If you are a pet owner like myself, it is important to be respectful, courteous and conscientious of the wear and tear and cleanliness of the property when it comes to care and maintenance of your pets. And, for goodness sake, always, always clean up after them!