Bluestone and Hockley Real Estate Services
We are reminding you that your dog, Basenji, may visit you at the Autumn West Apartments. With this letter we would like to define your visitation rights.
- The pet may not be left alone in the rental unit.
- No dog noises, i.e. barking or howling is allowed.
- Proper pick up around the grounds must be practiced.
- The dog may not remain in the rental unit overnight.
This is the gist of a letter I found on a property manager's desk last week. I was surprised, because we don't allow pets at most of our properties, not even to visit. But since I have a dog, I thought I would do some research to get a handle on this pet issue before I discussed it with my property manager.
In 1999-2000 there were approximately 62,400,000 people that owned dogs in the United States and 64,250,000 cats. In households where there are no children under the age of 18 more dogs are owned on average. Most households that own cats, own on average two cats (statistics courtesy of the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association).
As a nation, we are suffering from pet overpopulation. Cats and dogs enter shelters every year, and four-five million of these are euthanized every year. In theory one female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats and one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 dogs. The vast majority of this overpopulation is located in low-income areas. The majority of low-income pet owners do not license their pets or spay or neuter their pets.
My property manager told me that this visitation was an exception to the rule. There are many tenants that have pets that they want to move into our apartments, but that has only been allowed in hard to rent properties, and then only cats. Our condominium properties have a higher percentage of pets living with their adult humans. What we discovered is that at those properties we don't have thorough property rules to keep in check the animals.
Our biggest concerns were animal disease, filth, damage to the common areas and the units (i.e. carpets, fleas, ticks), noise, and lack of rules and methods of enforcement. So I looked up the Humane Society Web pages (www.hsus.org) for help. Their ideas were as follows:
- Limit the number of pets in a unit to two (pets are often happier if they live in pairs).
- Allow only traditional pets in a community (no iguanas, boas, etc.).
- Require that resident dogs, cats, and rabbits be neutered before they reach six months of age to control over population.
- Require that cats and dogs be licensed and up to date on rabies and other vaccinations.
- Require that pets wear collars with identification at all times.
- Require that pets be kept under control at all times (i.e. on a leash or harness”¦yes cats too).
- Require that the pet owners follow a written set of pet rules governing responsible keeping of animals in a community.
- Evaluate prospective residents and pets on an individual basis.
- Require a pet owner to supply a pet photo for the lease file.
- Require a supplemental security deposit.
- Require a pet application (see web site).
After accepting a pet what kind of policies/rules might work:
- All pets need to be registered.
- Pets shall not be used for any commercial purposes.
- All pets need to be spayed or neutered.
- Pet must be confined to pet owner's unit and only be walked on a leash.
- All pet debris must be picked up and disposed of according to the rules.
- Pet owners are financially responsible for any and all damages their pets create.
- No pet shall become a nuisance or create any unreasonable disturbance such as; personal injury or property damage, pets who make noise continuously, pets in common areas not on a lease or in complete control by the owner, pets who relieve themselves on walls or floors of common areas and spray on neighbor's doors, pets that exhibit aggressive behavior, pets who are not clean, and who may be parasite infested
- Pets need to be attended and cared for. When leaving town you must notify the management and have a pet sitter lined up.
- Owners and tenants are responsible for visiting pets
- Pet owners shall indemnify the property and hold it harmless against any loss or liability.
In the final analysis we are very nervous about renting to pets. Just look at all of the issues that need to be policed and enforced in order for it to work. On the other hand there is a growing demand for apartments and condominiums that cater to pets. Now you have rules you can follow as you progress towards this decision. Maybe pet visitation is a good place for us to start this process.