Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rental housing and pets

According to the 2010 Census, there are 99,479,722 Americans living in rental housing. If just 10 percent of these people want a pet but can't adopt one because of lease restrictions, that's nearly 10 million more homes (more than double the amount of animals reportedly killed in shelters each year for "lack of homes").
Now, as a person who rented homes for years before becoming a homeowner, I know these figures hit pretty close to the mark.
Growing up we always had a dog. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without one. Being an Army brat, housing was sometimes not easy to come by and my parents did not purchase their own home until two years before my father retired, when I was fifteen.
Because we always seemed to find housing and we always had a dog, the landlords must have changed in the last forty years.
Nowadays, if you are allowed to have a pet in an apartment you may face not only weight restrictions, but also breed restrictions. I can only imagine this came about due to the irresponsibility of pet owners who did not control their pets to the point of damages assessed on the rental property.
So now, if these depressed days of real estate, where many are losing their homes to foreclosure and are becoming displaced, they can move into an apartment with their family pet. This has caused even more overcrowding in shelters. If you are allowed pets, sometimes the deposits amount to such a large amount of money, a regular working Joe/Jane cannot afford the deposit. This means even if they are animal lovers, they cannot afford the costs associated with renting property.
I think this is a shame. Pets bring so much into our lives. So talk to your landlord. See if you can own a pet and if your landlord says no, ask why. Then arm yourself with as much information as possible about their concerns and go back and visit the issue again. Nothing is impossible. Even owning a pitbull in an apartment complex. Shhhh. Let's keep that quiet though.

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