DC Council member proposes ‘ambitious’ pets in housing bill

At-large D.C. Council member Robert White is introducing legislation aimed at preventing pet owners from having to make a difficult decision when looking for a place to live.

“Too often, a person’s beloved animal companion is a barrier to finding and staying in affordable housing here in D.C.,” White said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Working with the Humane Rescue Alliance and the George Washington University School of Law’s Animal Law program, White’s bill, the “Pets in Housing Act,” would cap pet deposits at $300 and limit monthly pet fees to $25. The legislation would also end breed restrictions.

White’s website called the proposal “the country’s most ambitious pets and housing bill to-date.”

Another feature in the bill calls on the D.C. Department of Human Services to require that at least one shelter provide access to people with pets.

In its blog, the DC Landlord Association acknowledged that “pets are beloved family members” that provide companionship and emotional support. The group called a number of the goals in the bill “commendable” but raised some concerns and offered suggestions, including establishing a pet deposit policy that “realistically covers potential damages.”

The association’s blog also suggested that mandating tenants with pets carry pet insurance and offering tax breaks to those landlords who provide pet-friendly housing would encourage more landlords to accept pets “without financial fear.”

WTOP’s news partner 7News reported on Wednesday’s news conference held in front of the Wilson Building where the Executive Office of the Mayor and the D.C. Council’s offices are housed.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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