LA considering pet-friendly requirement for affordable housing

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Los Angeles pet owners could have an easier time finding affordable housing if a proposal moving through the city council becomes law.

On Wednesday, the council’s housing committee approved a motion authored by Councilmember Paul Koretz asking the city’s housing department to require developers of publicly funded affordable housing projects to allow pets in those developments.

“There is already a lack of affordable housing that is available to people,” Dianne Prado told the committee. Prado, who founded HEART LA, a nonprofit that advocates for tenants with pets and service animals, said that strict no-pet policies present “an additional barrier” preventing many lower-income Angelenos from finding housing.

The pet-friendly requirements suggested by Koretz are similar to those imposed by a statewide bill signed into law last year by Governor Jerry Brown. That policy requires housing developers receiving state money to allow residents to own at least one pet.

If enacted quickly, the citywide policy could have a major impact on developments financed through the city’s HHH initiative—a voter-approved plan to build up to 10,000 units of housing geared toward homeless residents over the next decade.

A 2016 report from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority identified no-pet rules as a significant obstacle preventing many homeless residents from accessing shelter.

But not everyone is excited about the proposed rules. Valerie Acevedo, public policy coordinator with the Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing, argued the new requirement would create “operational concerns” for developers and property management.

“Neighboring residents and their families may be affected by the presence of these animals,” Acevedo said. She suggested the policy could still be successful—if city officials consider feedback from housing providers.

“Our developers understand that owning a pet while being housed can be very important for improving the health and wellbeing of an individual,” she said.

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