Renting is a joke.

I have been renting for the past decade. We’ve lived in many homes before this one, and we’ve experienced many different kinds of landlords. For the most part, we’ve been lucky with our landlords, past and present.

Currently, we live in a two bedroom, one bathroom home with a huge backyard. There are two parks, both a five minute walk in either direction. It’s quiet. The main floor is mostly open concept, with all the rooms leading into one another, the stairwell the central division.

The kids, their cousins and their friends love that they can run around in circles, through the living room, the office that doubles as a play room, the dining room and back hall, and the kitchen. Round and round they go, laughing like maniacs.

There are a lot of things about our current rental that I love, too. The yard, the street, the neighbours who live on the other side of the house, to name a few. But this house is pretty small. The boys share a room, and space is definitely an issue. There are zero closets in our house.

Truthfully? Our family outgrew this house years ago, but we linger because finding a new rental that fits our budget and is large enough for our family is a stretch. I’ve been following rental sites, getting alerts to new homes available for rent in the area. Sometimes, I’ll message to inquire about one that might be a good fit for us.

You guys, every year it gets worse. Prices go up, and landlords start asking more and more of tenants and giving less in return.

For example, a few months ago, I emailed about a three bedroom townhouse for $1750 a month. The landlord asked me to share a little about ourselves, and I did.

I shared that my husband works full time as a welder, that we had two boys and a 5 year old dog that is very well trained, and that I work from home. I explained that we’ve been renting for a decade and that we prefer long term rentals.

When this person replied, it was to tell me that in addition to first and last, they would require a pet deposit of $1200, which is illegal in Ontario. Landlords can ask for first and last, but not a pet deposit.

I informed the person of this, and naturally never heard back. Not that I expected I would.

A lot of tenants don’t even know that landlords can’t ask that of potential renters, and they get away with it, because the renters themselves have little to no option. It’s either pay the ridiculous “pet deposit” or risk getting passed over. There are plenty of other tenants that don’t have pets, so it’s no sweat off the landlords back.

But it’s crushing families like ours, families that just want a safe home to live in and keep our beloved family pet. If you’re paying a huge chunk of money to live somewhere, you shouldn’t be penalized for wanting to have a pet in the house you’re paying to live in.

Obviously if the animal or any people living there cause damage to the home or property, I can certainly see it being the tenants responsibility. But we’re not seeing that happen–just firm no’s on pets or illegal demands for pet deposits.

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