Many landlords put strict limitations on the types of animals who can live in their apartments: some have a flat ‘no pets’ policy, while others are okay with animals who live in aquariums, or who are within certain weight limitations (e.g., dogs under 50 pounds).
But not all renters agree with such policies. Some are willing to do just about anything to bring their four-legged friends into their new homes.
Katie of Houston, Texas, has pretty strong feelings on the subject: “To me, it’s my right to bring whatever living thing I want into my apartment, and it’s also my responsibility to keep it clean. I’ll replace anything that my dog messes up, and they can take away my deposit if needed. It’s a risk I’m willing to take, because I feel it’s not ethical to tell someone what they can and can’t live with.”
What should you do if you find an otherwise-perfect apartment that doesn’t accept pets? Should you try to sneak your pet in, and hope your landlord (or nearby neighbor who isn’t too happy with you) just doesn’t figure it out?
If you do decide to sneak your pet in, you need to be prepared for the consequences of getting caught. Can you afford to lose your deposit? Can you afford to move if your landlord demands you move for breaking the lease? No matter how much you care for your pet, it’s worth your while to look for an apartment that does take pets if you can’t afford the consequences of getting caught.
Many pets are harder to keep hidden than you might expect. With a dog, for instance, you don’t just have to worry about sneaking it outside for walks–a landlord with allergies may figure out that your pet is present just by sneezing at the wrong time.
Depending on your landlord, however, you may be able to get permission to bring your pet into your apartment openly. If your pet is a fish, a lizard or even something like a hamster, many landlords can be persuaded to allow such animals–after all, damage from something that spends all day in a tank is minimal. You may have to promise to keep your pet in his or her tank at all times, but that’s about it.
With larger pets such as cats or dogs, landlords are generally more concerned about damage. You can offer a larger security deposit, or a separate pet deposit, but it can be difficult to persuade a landlord with a set ‘no pets’ policy.
Have you been in this situation before? Tell us how you handled it–if you were caught by your landlord, did you move, or did you decide to (sniff, sniff) give Spot away?