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Margaret in CO

Should landlords be required to allow pets?

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2 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

Good Grief! I consider this extreme. These were different people??? 

And the old adage "Life is not fair" is unfortunately still true.

Nope, life is not fair. But as landlords, we try to be.

The family with the litter of puppies now have a vicious dog. Their chickens have killed the yard. The people who left the cat punched holes through every one of the doors. They also left ALL their wedding presents in the crawl space, all neatly labeled as to the giver and if thank you notes had been written. We stored them and then sold them. They left THREE 3-horse trailer loads of trash that we had to haul off and pay the dump fee on. The people who left the dying dog walked out on the house, leaving all their possessions, turning the heat off. It was -35 that night! We had to store their possessions for 30 days, paying for an ad in the newspaper, and then haul them all to the dump. We had to replace every pipe in the house, along with the entire house's floors. We had to replace the faucets, and the fridge and the washer. I don't let dh pick tenants any more... 😉 

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If landlords are required to allow cats and dogs, there are fewer available rentals for people with allergies (unless all flooring is replaced, walls repainted, etc.); and more work has to be done after a tenant with pets leaves (even if the pet fee in the lease pays for that work) before it can be rented to someone else.

Not a fan. If renting a property out, I'd say trained service animals only, and a small, refundable deposit for damage. Exceptions for fish in a tank up to 5 gallons, and up to 2 non-venomous snakes. (Along with no smoking, and other typical restrictions.)

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8 minutes ago, whitehawk said:

If landlords are required to allow cats and dogs, there are fewer available rentals for people with allergies (unless all flooring is replaced, walls repainted, etc.); and more work has to be done after a tenant with pets leaves (even if the pet fee in the lease pays for that work) before it can be rented to someone else.

Not a fan. If renting a property out, I'd say trained service animals only, and a small, refundable deposit for damage. Exceptions for fish in a tank up to 5 gallons, and up to 2 non-venomous snakes. (Along with no smoking, and other typical restrictions.)

In CO, the lease goes on and on for pages because of the pot smokers. It's not enough to say "no smoking"!

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As we have been in the military for 21 years and have alternately bought or rented, I will say that we really appreciate the landlords that allow pets. We can’t always choose where we go, and in places with a really hot rental market it can be so hard to find a place that allows pets. Something looks great, it’s finally in our price range, and bam. No pets. Now possibly if we called them and offered a pet fee, higher rent, assurance that our 9 year old golden does literally nothing but sleep, maybe they’d change their minds, but we don’t know for sure.  Moving by FAR is the most stressful part of being in the military. Much more than deployments imo. 

No it shouldn’t be forced - landlords themselves could have a pet allergy and want to avoid issues if they come back to live, it’s their property, etc. But it definitely adds a greater level of stress. 

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7 hours ago, Innisfree said:

 

Well.

I'm extremely reluctant to wade in here, for multiple reasons I'll get to in a moment. But, legally, this isn't quite right.

The bolding is mine; source below.

https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/assistance_animals

 

Now, my own objections here: I do have a strong sympathy for property owners. Perhaps a small-scale landlord could make an argument, as described above, that the cost of potential pet damage is too high. And there are limits to the Fair Housing Act:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/does-the-federal-fair-housing-act-apply-your-rental-property.html

So maybe this doesn't apply to you.

 

More to the point, as a parent of a disabled child who is heavily dependent on her emotional support dog, I think the category in U.S. law of "emotional support animal" does no favor to disabled individuals or the rest of society. This is a soapbox I've gotten on before, so pardon me if you remember how this goes.

First the terminology: as you see in the quotation above, "assistance dog" is a category which includes both service dogs and emotional support dogs. Both help their owners. Therapy dogs are a separate category, trained to help people other than their owners.

The idea in disability law is that service dogs are trained, first, for good behavior in public, and, second, to do specific tasks for disabled people.

Emotional support animals simply provide support. They have no special training. The law does require them to be allowed in planes and in rental housing, because people do legitimately depend on them.

Except -- we all know the system is abused. So people understandably view ESAs with very jaundiced eyes, which is not fair to the people with real disabilities who don't abuse the system.

I wish the law could be altered to define emotional support *as work*, just like service dogs do, but require emotional support dogs to be trained for public access like service dogs are. At a minimum, something like the canine good citizen test, which iirc also stresses responsible owner behavior.

I also wish our country had some sort of testing and certification for service dogs and emotional support dogs. This would protect people with disabilities and the general public as well.

So, Margaret, I'm sympathetic to your position. I know pets can do a lot of damage. I don't know the nitty gritty of how the law is applied to small-scale landlords with, say, four houses. I would never demonize you for preferring to avoid the whole business.

But I also know that not every emotional support dog indicates an owner who's trying to abuse the system. Sometimes the need is real and valid, and people try to take responsibility. I think a poorly conceived law has created problems here.

I am glad you pointed out the info from FHA.  I know that ESAs have real functions in the life of the owner with a disability, and they are important. But you make a good point here, that there is no standard of behavior or training for ESA (which is why I lumped  them in with pets as far as liability is concerned). I am sorry it was over simplified.  

To the bolded above, this would be great, but would it put ESAs out of reach to many for financial reasons?

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No, of course not.  The landlord and renter enter in to a private, consensual agreement.  Why should the government interfere with the arrangements they decided on?  If a renter really wants to have pets, they shouldn't have entered into that agreement.  If enough renters seek pet-friendly rentals and are willing to pay extra for it, more landlords will eventually offer pet rentals.  

 

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2 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

Nope, life is not fair. But as landlords, we try to be.

The family with the litter of puppies now have a vicious dog. Their chickens have killed the yard. The people who left the cat punched holes through every one of the doors. They also left ALL their wedding presents in the crawl space, all neatly labeled as to the giver and if thank you notes had been written. We stored them and then sold them. They left THREE 3-horse trailer loads of trash that we had to haul off and pay the dump fee on. The people who left the dying dog walked out on the house, leaving all their possessions, turning the heat off. It was -35 that night! We had to store their possessions for 30 days, paying for an ad in the newspaper, and then haul them all to the dump. We had to replace every pipe in the house, along with the entire house's floors. We had to replace the faucets, and the fridge and the washer. I don't let dh pick tenants any more... 😉 

 

That's just crazy. This alone would convince me to never be a landlord.

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Many years ago we had a couple of rental properties. They weren't the nicest places, but we still didn't want them damaged. We did allow pets because we are animal lovers and knew it is hard for people to find rentals that allow pets. It worked in our favor because we got better applicants since we allowed pets. One woman was in veterinary school and had pets but couldn't find anywhere nicer that would allow her to keep her animals. She was the best tenant we ever had and her and her animals did significantly less damage than some of our previous tenants. I know that animals can cause a lot of damage...my own cats have damaged things in my house, so I think it should always be up to the landlord.

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2 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

In CO, the lease goes on and on for pages because of the pot smokers. It's not enough to say "no smoking"!

oh my.  i'm in Washington.  pot shops everywhere.

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2 hours ago, whitehawk said:

If landlords are required to allow cats and dogs, there are fewer available rentals for people with allergies (unless all flooring is replaced, walls repainted, etc.); and more work has to be done after a tenant with pets leaves (even if the pet fee in the lease pays for that work) before it can be rented to someone else.

Not a fan. If renting a property out, I'd say trained service animals only, and a small, refundable deposit for damage. Exceptions for fish in a tank up to 5 gallons, and up to 2 non-venomous snakes. (Along with no smoking, and other typical restrictions.)

I’d suggest a 5 foot size limit on snakes, especially if untilities are included. The really big ones take a lot of power to keep warm. 

1 hour ago, Targhee said:

I am glad you pointed out the info from FHA.  I know that ESAs have real functions in the life of the owner with a disability, and they are important. But you make a good point here, that there is no standard of behavior or training for ESA (which is why I lumped  them in with pets as far as liability is concerned). I am sorry it was over simplified.  

To the bolded above, this would be great, but would it put ESAs out of reach to many for financial reasons?

I think Canine Good Citizen should be a requirement for any ESA dog  that goes out in public. It’s not expensive to test and usually there are low cost classes available, too.https://www.akc.org/products-services/training-programs/canine-good-citizen/

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6 hours ago, HeighHo said:
  • No.  The people with allergies need a safe place to live; when looking for apts recently with our young adults we saw over and over that landlords were not replacing the flooring and walls damaged by pet urine.  We had one place tell us the smell was their cleaning chemical.  Well, if they lie about that, what else are they lying about?

Also pet owners were not keeping their pets under control, which made even walking in the parking lot dangerous for the elderly.I

I don't feel people are owed housing, with or without a pet. Plenty of towns that need people. 

Not just the elderly.  Those of us with arthritis in our feet are also afraid of dogs knocking us over.

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1 hour ago, dmmetler said:

 

I think Canine Good Citizen should be a requirement for any ESA dog  that goes out in public. It’s not expensive to test and usually there are low cost classes available, too.https://www.akc.org/products-services/training-programs/canine-good-citizen/

this.  I'd love to see it.  dd's dog is "technically" for use as a eca (under advice of her therapist.) - but he's still in training. (with plans to continue training until he's two, even if he qualifies for the cgc earlier.) she's working towards the CGC certification.

she doesn't take him to work (though she can because her work is friendly), doesn't take him shopping or other places dogs aren't allowed.  

I have a relative who "calls" her dog a esa - he's not.  not even close.  he's a brat of a dog, who barks and growls at any other animal.  she will take him everywhere if she thinks she can get away with it - even if there are signs saying "service dogs only".   I disrespect people with this attitude.  there have been cases of fake esa's attacking legitimate service dogs and leaving them unable to function because they become nervous.

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No.  

I love pets, and have always had many.  (I am currently giving daily abx shots to a turtle, for goodness sake!), but my son is actually anaphylactic to cats.  

There was a time I’d have answered yes, but that was before I knew that people could have this level of allergy to dander.

We had a heck of a time buying a house, and he almost had to use his epipen when some unscrupulous agents told us a house was cat free. His throat started closing within minutes of entering.  He never made it past the foyer.

When we considered leasing our last home, we wanted to allow dogs but not cats.  Cats would mean that our young son could not come with us to clean between renters, or even go in the house again.  We feared someone might sneak in a cat, and finally we reluctantly decided “no pets” had to be the answer.

So, no.  Of course not.  Everyone has different needs, and some people even need pet free homes.

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My idealistic animal lover side wants to say of course.  But my others thinking side just says - guess what - everyone’s bond just went up by 400pc.  Because covering the cost of replacing carpet and curtains and chewed walls isn’t cheap.  

Practically what I’ve seen happen is people who want to rent but have animals need to accept a property in less than perfect condition.  It works for the landlord because they don’t have to bring the house up to scratch cosmetically just keep it safe.  It works for pet owners because they get to rent a house and if the pet does minor damage it doesn’t make a huge difference.

housing affordability is a separate thing.

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Yes, landlords should have the right to limit pets. (Service animals are not pets in the typical sense of the word). There are millions  of renters who have pets....there are millions of renters that have pet allergies. There needs to be housing for both.

Dander is sticky and can't just be cleaned out of a home with a carpet shampooing. It is on walls, window coverings and all surfaces. My son had severe hives over 75% of his body at 1yo due to a cat. He had to be in a completely pet-free home. Subsequent reactions would have likely been worse.  If all homes had to allow pets, he would have major problems.

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22 hours ago, Plum said:

My tenant of 5 years is moving out in a few days and I'm going to have to put the house back up for rent. She had 2 dogs that she crated during the day. The house was always well taken care of and I could see no sign of dog and no dog smell. I was hesitant to allow pets, but this turned me around. I'm considering allowing pets with training certificates. I think that seems fair. I can see both sides since when we were young, we had an untrained dog and we rented. I wouldn't have wanted us for tenants. 😳

 

We had one dog who was trained by her previous owners, I think she just have failed the class.  She was a mess. She ruined a chair we had just by making it her bed at night for a while, we put up gates when we realized, but the chair was kind of done at that point.  

And we have a dog, untrained, who is gentle and sweet and doesn't make a mess or much wear and tear on anything but her toys and her own bed.

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12 hours ago, Targhee said:

I am glad you pointed out the info from FHA.  I know that ESAs have real functions in the life of the owner with a disability, and they are important. But you make a good point here, that there is no standard of behavior or training for ESA (which is why I lumped  them in with pets as far as liability is concerned). I am sorry it was over simplified.  

To the bolded above, this would be great, but would it put ESAs out of reach to many for financial reasons?

Full service dog training would, yes, but canine good citizen is not very costly at all. Mainly it requires a time commitment to training, plus a basic good temperament for the dog.

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I'll also add that I quoted the FHA rules for accuracy, not to reflect my personal views.

Owning animals is a financial responsibility, whether they are pets, working animals or whatever. I understand the reasoning behind not allowing extra deposits for ESAs, but I don't agree. Anyone who owns an animal needs to be able to be financially responsible for it. I don't see why landlords, especially small-scale ones, should be forbidden to require extra damage deposits, insurance or some way to protect their investment.

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As a lifelong pet owner and one time landlord, no. I rented for many years (I didn't marry until I was 38) and always looked for a house or apartment that allowed pets. Yes, I realize how incredibly privileged I was to be able to turn down the places that didn't allow pets but I do still think it's the landlord's choice. 

It's been 30 years since I rented so I have no idea what it's like now but I would hope a lot of landlords choose to allow them.

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1 hour ago, Innisfree said:

Full service dog training would, yes, but canine good citizen is not very costly at all. Mainly it requires a time commitment to training, plus a basic good temperament for the dog.

and decent quality dog training trains the owner too.  there are way too many dog owners who think it's all about playing with the dog and feeding it.  getting its shots is considered responsible.   those are very basic things.  

I think having a cgc cert should be a basic requirement.   

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One of the reasons I was so annoyed at the woman who went off on me is that I DO understand the need for trained service animals. We raised Guide Dogs for the Blind puppies for years. I KNOW how much work goes into a trained animal--it's a 24/7 commitment for years. I've seen the "trained" animal that she produced. Um, not the same thing. Plus, I clearly stated that we DO allow pets, but after our many experiences, we really should have our heads examined... 

I thought, maybe I'm off base here, and wanted others' opinions. Thank you all. 

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19 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

Because, right or wrong, it would be considered disability discrimination.  It’s legally akin to charging extra for a wheelchair user or an insulin pump, to charge someone with a seizure service dog or seeing eye dog extra for the animal.  They’re protected by under housing discrimination laws.  But this is why I’m no fan of ESAs.  If there were a certification for service dogs and it was applied to a psychological disability as well - so your animal was a service animal, just with a different set of training - it would go a lot smoother I think.  

The real flaw is the lack of standardization and accreditation, so the laws have plenty of room for abuse (like the fake service animals biting children on planes and such).  It’s not that ESAs aren’t justified,  but that the oversight and training and legal allowances for them are grey or just plain absent.  It’s frustrating for owners AND landlords.

 

And this is one reason I wouldn't become a landlord. I have a child with a disability, so I get it to a degree. But landlords have made an investment that they should be allowed to protect.

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3 hours ago, Melissa in Australia said:

As a landlord I wouldn't have so much problem with pets if the tennents would keep them outside. But there is no way to enforce that. 

Outdoor cats and dogs also are a problem for wildlife. Especially cats, which are harder to keep contained, but we have an awful lot of dogs in my neighborhood that seem to have no trouble getting out of fenced yards, or vaulting through an “invisible fence”. 

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No, it absolutely should not be required.  And I've had to find a rental that would allow (and accommodate) our giant dog, so I get it.  It significantly reduced the possibilities and was very stressful.  

Edited by EKS

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Pet owner, here... TBH, my children have been harder on this house (any house) than my dog ever has.  But, she spent years crated every time we left, and every night.  It was a slow process (true for my other dog and my cat).  They never chewed up, peed on or otherwise did anything to our houses.  My brother's pets, on the other hand... pee'd all over the dining room and his dog tore up a door.  I'm not sure why mine were so much better than his... but for whatever reason they have been.

That said, I don't think homeowners should be forced to accept pets.  Just like most people won't rent an 1800 square foot home to a family of 7 (which is why we may wind up having to buy a home in the next 30 days).  

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6 hours ago, dmmetler said:

Outdoor cats and dogs also are a problem for wildlife. Especially cats, which are harder to keep contained, but we have an awful lot of dogs in my neighborhood that seem to have no trouble getting out of fenced yards, or vaulting through an “invisible fence”. 

Yes as an Austrian I am fully aware of the damage that cats do to an environment where there were not really many predators.

 Many Australians and me included think that cats should not be allowed as pets here at all . the number of Australian native species that have become extinct or teetering on extinction here just because of introduced cats is huge.

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nm

Edited by ```

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No way! We rented a place that used to have a dog. The wood blinds were chewed up and there was scratching on the woodwork around the door, inside and outside. Why should a landlord have to deal with that kind of damage?

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No way. I'm very appreciative that our landlord is pet-friendly. It was tough to find a place that worked for us where we could bring the dog. Most in our area say no pets. We also needed a fenced yard as our dog is a runner.

Our dog is thankfully very easy going and careful, so no issue with damage.

The management company did require a breed evaluation (which we had anyway from the rescue) and doesn't allow all breeds of dogs. 

On a related note, it's also hard to find a place to rent if you smoke. Every place I looked at didn't allow smokers. That's not an issue with us, but it made me wonder what smokers do when they have to rent. It must be really hard to find a place.

Edited by G5052

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9 hours ago, LisaK in VA is in IT said:

Pet owner, here... TBH, my children have been harder on this house (any house) than my dog ever has.  But, she spent years crated every time we left, and every night.  It was a slow process (true for my other dog and my cat).  They never chewed up, peed on or otherwise did anything to our houses.  My brother's pets, on the other hand... pee'd all over the dining room and his dog tore up a door.  I'm not sure why mine were so much better than his... but for whatever reason they have been.

 

Your pets are probably better behaved because they were crated.  They never got the opportunity to be destructive when you were not around to supervise and correct poor behavior.  My dog was also crated when we went out and at night.  It has only been since this past Christmas that we have allowed him out of the crate at night, (we discovered that our new cat was teasing him when he was confined to the crate).  He's 3.5 and we've never had an issue with chewing, digging, or pooping in the house after the puppy stage.  The only "accident" he's had in the house was due to illness, which is understandable and forgivable (poor guy! He tried to get outside but didn't make it in time!)

 

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