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Proposed Bill to Overturn ‘No Dogs Allowed’ Policy in California Rentals

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A push to ban ‘no dogs allowed’ at California rentals

All dogs may go to heaven, but California landlords aren’t as accommodating.

Pet owners can have a tougher time finding apartments because of the surfeit of landlords who don’t allow dogs, cats, or other animals in their buildings. A new bill seeks to open more apartments to renters with pets.

The legislation, in fact, would allow landlords to ask about pet ownership only after a tenant’s application has been approved, says Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco), author of the bill.

Haney’s proposal would end blanket bans on specific pets, he said, adding that the measure would help ease California’s housing crisis.

Haney introduced Assembly Bill 2216 earlier this month, which he said in a news release requires landlords to “have reasonable reasons for not allowing a pet in a rental unit.”

“I’ve heard from many constituents about the incredible hurdles and challenges they faced in finding homes simply because they own pets,” Haney said. “They’ve been repeatedly denied because they have a dog — even if their dog is an emotional support animal — and they need accommodations.”

Haney found inspiration from a British bill introduced in Parliament in May that makes pet ownership “an implied term of an assured tenancy,” unless “the landlord reasonably refuses.”

Haney said that landlords’ restrictions on pets are crippling for the majority of California renters.

He noted that nearly 70% of the state’s 17 million renting families are pet owners and, of those, nearly 3 million live in Los Angeles County.

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Statistics on pet ownership vary.

The American Veterinary Medical Assn. said that, in 2020, 45% of all U.S. households owned dogs and 26% owned cats. Among those, 39% of all renters favored canines and 29% preferred felines.

A widely cited 2014 Apartments.com survey placed pet ownership among renters at 72%. The Humane Society also lists 72% of renters as pet owners.

What is indisputable, Haney said, is the low number of rentals in California that say they are “pet friendly.” His staff identified daily listings over the course of a week on the real estate website Zillow that showed 21% of available rentals in San Francisco allowed pets, and 26% in Los Angeles.

“California pet owners are over two-thirds of renters, and they’re excluded from units,” Haney said. “I’m a huge supporter of building access to housing, and this is a housing issue.”

Andrea Amavisca, a senior legislative advocate at the California Immigration Policy Center, said she and her partner spent more than a month trying to find a two-bedroom rental unit in Sacramento that permitted their small mixed-breed dog.

“Landlords that initially liked our application would suddenly stop answering our calls once they found out we had a dog,” Amavisca said in a statement. “Or others would require a pet deposit close to $1,000 that would put the unit totally out of our budget.”

Amavisca said it was unfair that nearly every landlord “had a different pet policy with fees that varied based on discretion,” meaning they could charge what they pleased. Some charged only $20 a month, while others asked for $100 and some wanted four-figure cleaning deposits.

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Haney’s bill does not address fees, and the legislation wouldn’t bar landlords from excluding certain types of pets. “We’re not saying every landlord should have to accept every animal,” Haney said.

Haley’s bill defines “a common household pet” as “a domesticated animal, including a dog or cat, that is commonly kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes.”

When asked if boa constrictors, lizards, fish, or other legally acquired pets met the definition, Haney said the bill was centered on “companion animals” such as dogs or cats.

Calls and emails to the California Apartment Assn. and the Apartment Assn. of California Southern Cities seeking comment on this bill were not returned.

California Oaks Property Management, which manages residential and commercial properties in Ventura County, listed a series of cons regarding pet ownership on a post to landlords that included property damage, noise complaints, and liability issues from possible animal attacks.

California Oaks recommended that landlords charge an added deposit of $250 to $500 depending on breed.

Haley said he expected to receive some pushback from landlords.

“I understand some will be concerned about the potential of taking on renters with pets that do damage in ways they want to avoid,” he said. “I’m open to dialogue.”

Haley said his bill would also help bring roughly 829,000 tenants who are hiding pets from landlords into the sunshine.

The bill is in its infancy and has yet to be referred to an Assembly committee, according to state legislative records, although it may come up for a hearing March 9.

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The Contribution of Volcanoes to Venus’s Atmospheric Composition

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One of the many mysteries surrounding Venus, our closest planetary neighbor, is the origin of its atmosphere. The planet is veiled in thick clouds, making it challenging to study its surface and atmospheric composition. However, scientists have long speculated about the role of volcanoes in shaping Venus and adding to its atmosphere. With approximately 85,000 volcanoes on Venus, the idea of active volcanic activity is a topic of interest and debate among researchers.

A recent paper by European researchers explores the question of whether Venus has active volcanism through two approaches. The first approach considers whether Venus can maintain its current atmospheric composition without additional gases from volcanic emissions. The variability of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere over decades has been cited as potential evidence of ongoing volcanism. However, some scientists suggest that other factors, such as surface-atmosphere interactions or atmospheric dynamics, could also contribute to this variability.

The second approach focuses on identifying transient effects in Venus’ atmosphere that could indicate active volcanism. These effects could range from water vapor to particulate matter like volcanic ash. Data on these phenomena has been limited, primarily collected through remote sensing missions. However, upcoming missions to Venus, such as DAVINCI and EnVision, aim to provide more direct measurements and insights into the planet’s atmosphere.

DAVINCI, equipped with spectrometers and high-tech cameras, will gather data in Venus’ lower atmosphere to detect trace volcanic gases. It will also analyze ionic concentrations to indicate volcanic outgassing. EnVision, another mission, will focus on studying gases higher up in the atmosphere using various spectroscopic techniques to unravel mysteries in Venus’ cloud tops.

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While current missions offer valuable tools for studying Venus’ atmosphere, there are limitations to consider. For instance, an infrasound sensor could directly detect volcanic eruptions, but no missions currently include this technology. Despite these challenges, researchers are optimistic about the new insights these missions could bring to the ongoing debate on Venus’ volcanic activity.

With the earliest mission, DAVINCI, set to launch in approximately five years, scientists have time to refine their hypotheses and theories about Venus. The data collected during these missions could finally provide conclusive evidence regarding the presence of active volcanism on Venus, answering a long-standing question about our neighboring planet.

As researchers eagerly await the results from upcoming missions, the scientific community is hopeful that these endeavors will shed light on the enigmatic nature of Venus and its mysterious atmosphere. By leveraging advanced technologies and innovative approaches, scientists are poised to unravel the secrets of Venus and potentially redefine our understanding of planetary volcanism.

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