DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’m having a very hard time finding a new apartment where the management will allow my two cats. And those that do allow pets have really high pet fees. I’m not sure what to do. Is there a law or something that would force landlords to allow pets? After all, there are laws to keep animals off the street, but it seems like apartment rules banning pets may cause more pets to be abandoned. — Christine B., Atlanta
DEAR CHRISTINE: I wish I could say there were laws like that — you make a very good case for them. But I doubt that there are any laws like that on the books in the U.S.
While some might say you just need to keep looking for an apartment that takes pets and has reasonable fees, the reality is that fewer apartments allow pets at all. A new study by the National Association of Realtors surveyed homebuyers, and found that 61 percent said “it is very difficult or difficult to find a rental property or a homeowner association that accommodates animals.” At the same time, 95 percent of buyers who are pet owners said that it’s important for housing communities to allow animals.
Pet owners paid about $150 a year in fees to communities — either association dues or rental applications — in 2016, the study said. But that didn’t include fees like monthly dues for pets that some apartment communities charge.
For now, keep looking. Some new communities are adding pet-friendly features like dog parks, while others are revisiting their policies. Be prepared to pay a nonrefundable deposit for each pet, however, no matter how accommodating the apartment community is.
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