Dog friendly West Hollywood?
Not when it comes to finding an apartment where dogs are allowed.
Sure, 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.