Pets in Housing Resources

by Michelle Cobey

A growing number of resources are available that can help you make the housing in your community "pet friendly". This section provides property owners and managers and tenants with information on some of the best resources available.

Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS)

A recent study by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy has confirmed what many shelter workers have known for years: cat and dog owners who relinquish animals often report they're moving or that the landlord does not allow pets. Research revealed that 35% of people without pets would own a pet if their rental housing permitted animals. If all rental housing permitted pets, 6.5 million animals could be placed in new homes.

These statistics caused HSUS to launch Renting With Pets, a website containing a wealth of information that can help pet owners, housing owners, non-pet owners and pets live together successful. The information includes: steps to implementing an effective pet policy, sample lease and pet registration forms, guidelines for conducting a successful rental housing search, and sample pet resumes and letters of reference from a veterinarian and landlord.

Humane Society of the U.S.
Renting With Pets
2100 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
(202) 452-1100
Web site: www.rentwithpets.org

The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm

The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm is striving to become a "Shelter of Hope" for needy animals by placing adoptable animals that admitted to the shelter into loving homes. One way this is being done is through the Pets are Welcome (PAW) program that works to help and encourage housing managers to rent to responsible pet owners and to assist tenants in finding pet-friendly housing. The PAW program has information for property managers on the benefits of renting to pet owners, tips on identifying responsible pet owners, and ways to create and enforce a effective written pet policy and pet rider to a lease.

PAW recommneds that pet owners seeking pet-friendly housing show they are serious about their role as a pet owner and are committed to ensuring their pet is a successful tenant. The information from this program is on the website or can be mailed by contacting The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm. A list of pet-friendly apartments is also available. The program has collected a great deal of evidence that responsible pet owners make responsible residents.

The Humane Society at Lollypop Farm
Pets Are Welcome Program
99 Victor Road
P.O. Box 299
Fairport, NY 14450
(719) 223-1330
Fax: (716) 425-4183
Email: info@lollypop.org
Web site: www.lollypop.org

San Francisco SPCA Open Door Program

The San Francisco SPCA Open Door Program is dedicated to adding to the number of pet-friendly urban dwellings. Established in 1990, it is the most comprehensive program of its kind. In its first year, the Open Door Program increased "cat friendly" housing from 33% to 55% and "dog OK" rental units from 11% to 29%. Last year alone, the program opened up to pets 900 units that previously did not accept pets.

The program provides information for tenants searching for pet-friendly housing. The information available includes tips on the best way to find housing and how to prepare a resume for your pet. A monthly listing of landlords and property managers in San Francisco who are pet friendly is also available. Information is on the web site or can be mailed by calling the Open Door Program.

The Open Door Program has developed comprehensive information for landlords considering a "pets OK" policy. A Landlord Start-up Kit is available on the website or by calling the program. The kit includes information on the benefits of allowing responsible pet owners, guidelines for establishing a pets OK policy for your property, sample pet policies, and a checklist to help screen and recognize responsible pet owners.

San Francisco SPCA
Open Door Program
2500 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103-6589
(415) 554-3098
Fax: (415) 552-7041
Email: publicinfo@sfspca.org
Web site: www.sfspca.org

Doris Day Animal League

The Doris Day Animal League has published a booklet, Best Friends for Life, to help people determine if they have the right to keep pets in "no pet" buildings. This booklet will provide you with information about federal laws that can apply to animals in housing. The booklet also answers questions about laws governing animals in housing. Information about the booklet is on the website and can be ordered by contacting the Doris Day Animal League.

This booklet was revised in 2001. In 1996, persons living in federally-assisted housing designated for senior citizens and persons with disabilities could not be denied housing because they had a companion animal. In October 1998 this law was extended to all residents of most federal housing. For more information on the change in the law, see The Legal Ins and Outs of Pet Ownership and Housing article on this web site.

Doris Day Animal League
Suite 100
227 Massachusetts Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002-6084
(202) 546-1761
Fax: (202) 546-2193
Email: info@ddal.org
Web site: www.ddal.org

Peninsula Humane Society

In areas where the rental housing occupancy rate is high, pet owners are even more likely to find problems finding housing. Landlords do not see the need to appeal to pet owners when renters without animals already fill their units. The Peninsula Humane Society decided to even out the odds by becoming an advocate for pet owners looking for housing

Peninsula Humane Society developed a Pets in Rental Housing packet for landlords and tenants. The packet includes valuable information on finding pet-friendly rental housing, making your housing with a pet work, creating a pet resume and a listing of rental housing for people with companion animals. The listing of pet-friendly rental housing is on their website.

Peninsula Humane Society
Pets in Rental Housing
12 Airport Blvd.
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 340-7022, extension 344
Email: mleak@peninsulahumanesociety.org
Web site: www.peninsulahumanesociety.org

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA)

The MSPCA Pets in Housing Program was established to work with federal and state housing authorities to promote responsible pet ownership by implementing workable "pets allowed" policies and to enforce federal laws allowing elderly and people with disabilities living in subsidized housing to keep their animals.

MSPCA has published a booklet Pets in People Places that is a blueprint for the introduction of pets into multi-unit housing for elders and others. Written as a workable pet policy in both private and multi-unit housing it is intended to offer helpful advice to anyone—residents, managers, housing boards and elected officials—who makes decisions on the critical issue of allowing pets in rental housing. The booklet can be ordered by contacting the MSPCA.

When this booklet was published, people living in federally-assisted housing designated for senior citizens and persons with disabilities could not be denied housing because they had a companion animal. In October 1998 this law was extended to all residents of most federal housing. For more information on the change in the law, see The Legal Ins and Outs of Pet Ownership and Housing article on this web site.

The Pets in Housing Program also provides information on their website about finding a pet-allowed apartment and guidelines for a workable pets-allowed policy.

Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Pets in Housing Program
350 South Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02130
617) 522-7400
Email: Mcelwain@mspca.org
Web site: www.mspca.org

Renting with Rover and Other Pets

Renting with Rover and Other Pets, by Joanne Carriera. Alpine Publications, Loveland, CO, 2002. ISBN 1-57779-038-3. 31 pages.

This booklet provides pet owners hope, creative tipes for fiinding housing and advice on how to be a responsible tenant so they may help preserve pet-friendly housing policies. The book provides information on finding houses and apartments. It sells for $5.00 plus shipping. For more information contact Alpine Pubications at 970-667-9317 or alpinecsr@aol.com.


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