Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would give tax credits to landlords who allow pets. The bill would offer a $750 tax credit for pet-friendly housing that welcomes dogs and cats, with a maximum of 10 units per year. Landlords would not be able to charge nonrefundable fees or additional rent for pets. Additionally, they would have to allow all breeds and sizes of dogs and cats, with the exception of breeds considered dangerous.
Ohio proposes tax breaks for pet-friendly housing
Representatives Sharon Ray (R-Wadsworth) and Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) introduced bipartisan House Bill 277 in September, the Statehouse News Bureau reported.
Both representatives stated they sponsored the bill because of their love for their own pets who passed away earlier this year.
“If people can agree on anything here in the Statehouse, we love our children and we love our pets,” Representative Brent said.
Representative Ray stated that the Cleveland Animal Protective League proposed the idea. Shannon Harvey, president of the Cleveland APL testified on the bill’s second hearing on Oct. 31.
According to NBC 4, Harvey emphasized her concerns about the increasing number of individuals surrendering their pets. Trends indicate this is somewhat due to difficulties in finding affordable housing. Rising housing costs and rental restrictions not only contribute to stress for pet owners but also exacerbate the capacity crisis in animal shelters. The legislation proposed by both animal welfare organizations aims to address the concerning increase in pet surrender.
Bill aims to combat housing crisis and pet surrender
As of September, the Cleveland Animal Protective League admitted over 250 surrendered pets because of housing-related difficulties. Harvey also noted that accurate data is difficult to obtain, which may be due to embarrassment or hesitation to disclose the reasons behind pet surrender. The actual number of housing-related pet surrenders may be higher.
“This bill will entice landlords, perhaps more of the smaller landlords, who would be that transitional housing or would be that rental properties that people in this situation might be in,” Harvey stated. While the bill doesn’t require landlords to accept tenants with pets, it does offer an incentive. If passed, the bill could potentially offer property owners up to $7,500 annually in tax credits.
“Families turn to animal shelters and are forced to make an often devastating and heartbreaking decision to surrender a pet,” Harvey stated. “In a humane society, people shouldn’t be pushed to choose between housing and keeping their animals.”
Representative Angela King (R-Celina), however, expressed concerns about the idea in addition to her disapproval of the $750 credit amount.
“I think it’s well-intended,“ King said. “$750 doesn’t go very far. For me as a landlord, that would not entice me.“
According to a budgetary estimate conducted by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the annual cost of the credits would be between $160 million to $255 million. Lawmakers additionally hope to receive input from landlords and the Ohio Real Estate Investors Association.
“This really is about recognizing the importance of pets in the family,” Harvey said. “People facing hard times need their pets more than ever.”