Opinion: Most WeHo Landlords Ban Dogs, Contradicting Our Dog-Friendly Image

Dog friendly West Hollywood?

Not when it comes to finding an apartment where dogs are allowed.

west hollywood, landlords ban dogs, no dogs allowedSure, it’s great to know that the city views your dog as a “guardian” and that the City Council is considering allowing dogs to play in the $86 million West Hollywood Park. (City staffers have been asked to come back with a proposal for whether that will work.)

But does that matter if you can’t find a place to live with your pup in West Hollywood? That’s a major issue for renters, who constitute about 80 percent of the city’s population of a little more than 34,000.

It’s an issue that newcomers and those considering a move to a new apartment discuss often. Consider that a recent search on Zillow.com showed 108 apartments for rent in West Hollywood, only 34 of which allow dogs. The situation is only slightly better in the area that Zillow defines as Hollywood, with 63 of the 133 apartments for rent allowing dogs.

So if dogs can’t live in West Hollywood, does it really matter that our City Council has taken steps to ensure they can’t be rented out (2008 West Hollywood city ordinance), can’t be sold at pet stores (2010 city ordinance) and eventually might have something more than tiny William S. Hart park (8341 De Longpre Ave. at Sunset) to play off leash (July 2014 City Council discussion)?

It’s unlikely that the West Hollywood City Council can legislate acceptance of dogs by landlords. But the city could encourage West Hollywood landlords to adopt a voluntary program used in San Francisco that has made property owners more receptive to tenants with dogs.

The program, as outlined on CanisMajor.com, the online dog owner’s guide, requires that tenants with dogs provide the following:

  • “References from veterinarians, neighbors, former landlords and others that the pet is well kept and the owner is responsible;
  • “(And) a packet of information about the pet, including vaccination records, proof of sterilization and licensing and certificate of completion of obedience class.”

The pet owner is asked to show “a sense of responsibility about pet care by becoming a member of the local animal welfare society and also agree … to:

  • “Clean up after the pet inside and out;
  • “Pay a pet deposit and repair any damage the pet may cause;
  • “Sign a pet policy agreement, and
  • “Keep the pet under control at all times.”

And finally, the applicant has to be willing to bring his or her dog to meet the landlord and to welcome the landlord to visit the pet in the apartment to prove that the policies are being followed.

Why would a landlord implement such a policy? A major reason is that it increases his pool of potential tenants. “The words ‘pets okay’ sure bring in the calls,” Eleanor Sampson, a San Francisco property owner, told Canis Major. She also said that pet owners are more stable tenants.

Mayor John D’Amico nailed it at a recent City Council meeting when he talked about the importance of WeHo’s canine population. According to records provided by the city of Los Angeles, there are 1,611 registered dogs in the 90046 and 90069 zip codes, which cover most of West Hollywood (and there likely are more because some “guardians” don’t register their dogs.) By contrast the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey reports West Hollywood has only 616 residents 18 and under, none of whose parents can be turned away by a landlord who is worried that baby might pee on the floor.

So let’s hope the city will do what it can to make sure this diverse and progressive city not only celebrates canines but actually makes it possible for them to live here. That’s what it will take for West Hollywood to be a dog-friendly city it claims to be.

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Sharon L. Younkin
6 years ago

I think a large part of the reason why people in WeHo are against dogs is that many of the dog owners are not responsible or respectful of limits. I see dogs all the time at the farmers markets (clearly not service dogs), despite signs saying dogs are not allowed. Frequently people with dogs walk into the market, clearly looking at that sign and then walking right past it. The other thing I see a lot is people not cleaning up after their dogs, and letting their dogs romp around (and relieve themselves) in other people’s front yards. Unless you… Read more »

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
6 years ago

WD, why is it so many people in WeHo can’t seem to cope without a dog? And do you really have to take it into the grocery store with you? Do you not think landlords have the right to protect their property in every way they can, and don’t the other residents in your building have a right to live in a dog free building?

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
6 years ago

A little after 1:00 Thursday afternoon across the street from 24 Hour Fitness (I think in front of Subway) there was a dark gray pit bull tied to a parking meter barking his head off and struggling to get free of his leash. Imagine if he had been able to break away.

WD
WD
6 years ago

In West Hollywood, if you get a note from your doctor for any medical reason stating you need a companion, a landlord cannot deny you the right to own a dog and also cannot charge you a deposit. I don’t tell the landlord until after I move in.

Isa
Isa
6 years ago

Which is the proper city dept. that can be called to deal with “not picking up poop”.
What is required as proof? Photograph? Video?
Signed, picking poop from my front yard and parkway.

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
6 years ago

You nailed it John and kab1200! This discussion may be a starting point for change, particularly regarding these phony service-dogs for anxiety and to disallow dangerous breeds like pit bulls. Who is it that designated WeHo as dog friendly in the first place?

kab1200
kab1200
6 years ago

Dogs are not more important than people, and I am sorry, but parks are for kids. There is an off leash dog park at Hart Park, which is in Weho. I cannot tell you the problems I have had with neighbors dogs over the years. I think it is horrible to house bigger dogs in small apartments all day. Anyway, landlords should be able to do what they want when it comes to dogs. I love how everyone wants to force their agenda on others, at any cost.

John
John
6 years ago

So there are 1,611 dogs in the city. That’s about 1,000 dog owners out of more than 30,000 people. How, exactly, are dog owners suffering because they are such a tiny minority? Dogs can’t live here? There are 63 apartments available right now that take dogs. The entire dog owning population could move into a new apartment in less than a two year period and find apartments to live in. Every condo and house in the state is required to allow owners to have at least one dog, so right there, over 20% of the housing stock is available to… Read more »

Pat Dixon
Pat Dixon
6 years ago

I live in an garden apartment building with maybe 16 units. At one point we had 11 dogs in the building and it was about 7 dogs too many. The barking was so continuous and loud that I thought I was living in the Laurel Pet Hospital. I think there should be a limit as to how many dogs can be in a building. Weho does love animals -but I think there should be some control as to how many per building.

jax
jax
6 years ago

a barking dog is an unhappy dog. it’s up to the owner to keep them quiet. most owners don’t seem to care and think it’s only natural for their dogs to bark. there are 2 dogs in my neighborhood that bark throughout the day and night. i’ve never seen the dogs and i can’t pinpoint where they are. every time they bark, it interrupts the calmness of my life. if it bothers me from a 100 feet or so away, i always wonder why and how the dog owners or people living next door to them put up with the… Read more »

BlueEyedBoy
BlueEyedBoy
6 years ago

I would also like to see the issue addressed of pit bulls and other potentially dangerous breeds that I see an awful lot of in WeHo. Every few days in the news there is a story of a life being lost or forever changed by a pit bull who suddenly, unprovoked, went berserk and attacked. And the owner always insists the dog had never been aggressive before. There is an older guy in WeHo who has multi-colored hair and beard who has a pit bull as a service dog for his anxiety, and he takes that dog in the gym… Read more »

JESS K
JESS K
6 years ago

This is NOT the least big surprising. BUT! Based on the bad OWNERS, Frankly, I do not blame landlords. All one has to do is walk down almost any residential steer in WeHo and the PROOF of bad dog owners hits the smell and sight senses! SO MANY do not pick up after their pets. MANY pick up the poop, then leave the plastic bag with the poop in it on the curb or in the gutter!!!! SILLY that the City banned plastic bags in stores, but FURNISH plastic bags for dog poop. It is unfortunate that dog owners do… Read more »