Monday, May 3, 2010

Curmudgeon landlords and their draconian "no pets" policy

It seems I'm spending a bit too much time lately taking issue with rather unpleasant...issues. Today I put before you the idea that owners of condos, townhomes, and single-family residences available for rent have mostly, as a group, decided that pets of any kinds are unwelcome. In particular, most owners of single-family homes declare "no pets" in postings on Craigslist, Padmapper, and other online resources.

While I understand that there is a desire to keep a home in top condition based on a possible future sale, it seems to be downright uncivilized to discriminate against pet owners. Have these people ever heard of a pet deposit? If $200 is too little to cover the cost of replacing carpet or fixing screen doors, then increase the deposit amount.

According to the Humane Society, 39% of households own at least one dog and 36% of household own at least one cat. They don't address households with combinations so let's assume that at least 39% of the U.S. has a pet. That means millions of people have a nearly impossible time renting a single family home!

Keeping it local, take a look at listings for rental homes in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Mountain View. You'll find that of the available single-family home listings most indicate that either pets are not OK or are "negotiable". Negotiable means that if given the alternative, the owner will rent to someone with no pets. Looking in Cupertino, Sunnyvale, and other nearby communities the number of homes with a "no pets" policy increases substantially.

So, do we need a law on the books to ban pet discrimination? Have a few bad tenants spoiled it for everyone else? Why will almost all apartments take cats and yet so few single-family homes will?

What are your thoughts?

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