View Full Version : Pets banned from rentals--is this a relatively new thing?
Spectre of Pithecanthropus
11-09-2008, 12:02 AM
(Inspired by this (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=491962))
By 'relatively new', I mean this: let's suppose I live in NYC a hundred years ago--or heck, even L.A., and I'm one of those prospective tenants to whom building owners of the day were always advertising their "Five Rooms To Let" or what have you, in the newspapers. Would my having a a cat or dog ever have been an issue the way it is today? One often sees pets in apartments either in period movies, or old movies of the 1940s and before that were supposed to be from a present-day perspective at the time they were made. Granted, those are just movies, but still, one would think the issue of pets, particularly when not central to the plot, would be handled in a true to life manner.
Did the banning of pets become more common as the level of expected amenities rose? I imagine a hundred years ago I would have gotten some absolutely bare rooms for my rent, but now a tenant generally expects at least carpet and basic appliances, not to mention furniture in some cases, although I can't imagine anyone wanting to rent a furnished apartment if they plan to stay any length of time.
11-09-2008, 12:08 AM
Pet restrictions come around with rental market fluctuation. Most Landlords would prefer not to rent to pet-owners (or parents with Kids, or just about anyone who doesn't stay six counties away and just mails the rent check in early:p).
If there's a lot of vacancies, Pets (usually cats, then dogs) will be allowed. With a tight market, they tend to not allow pets.
11-09-2008, 02:32 PM
Did the banning of pets become more common as the level of expected amenities rose?
My impression was, based on my experience looking for apartments in the Bay Area between 2001 and 2003, the more amenities the complex had, the less likely it was to allow pets. It was hard to find an apartment complex with central air and an in-unit washer and dryer that allowed any pets.
Most Landlords would prefer not to rent to pet-owners (or parents with Kids
It's my understanding that "no children" used to be a common restriction in rental housing. It's illegal now to discriminate by not renting to people with children, except in senior-citizen housing, due to a 1988 amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Landlords can't refuse to rent to a disabled person with a service animal, either.
11-09-2008, 03:24 PM
...It's my understanding that "no children" used to be a common restriction in rental housing. It's illegal now to discriminate by not renting to people with children, except in senior-citizen housing, due to a 1988 amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Landlords can't refuse to rent to a disabled person with a service animal, either.
I remember an old episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy needed to find an apartment to sublet (she sublet theirs, then Ricky's tour was cancelled). She couldn't find one that would take Little Ricky, but found several that allowed pets.
11-09-2008, 03:34 PM
I've lived in flats my whole life, and most flats don't want pets. And even the ones that take them always require a pet deposit.
It's easy to get around the children requirement. You simply require people list the number of occupants on the application. And then don't rent to the ones that have too many.
It's hard to prove discrimination, especially when there is almost never a flat that only has one person. Then you just rejected them based on their reference. Or make up some other reason, bad credit etc.
I've also noticed some landlords charge by the number of occupants. I've seen some advertise, One bed room flat $700/month. Additional charges per person.
11-09-2008, 04:29 PM
"No pets" as a condition of renting is as old as municipal leasing itself. I wouldn't be surprised to find Imperial Roman landlords with this requirement.
11-09-2008, 04:54 PM
I remember pet restrictions as far back as the 50's, but a hundred years ago? All I have to go on is books and movies set in those times, but my WAG is that pet ownership wasn't so widespread in the early 1900's, so it wouldn't have been an issue.
I've seen lap dogs in the homes of wealthy families and working dogs on farms and ranches, but that's about it (in books and movies).
I did find one page of classified ads from a D.C. newspaper in 1910, and there was no mention of pets or children, welcome or not, in any of the rental ads. That's not much to draw a hypothesis from, but I'll do it anyway. It wasn't an issue because renters didn't have pets, or because the landlords didn't care one way or the other.
My Google skills must be pretty bad, because I couldn't find anything showing historic trends in pet ownership.
11-09-2008, 05:19 PM
As an interesting bit of trivia, in Ontario a landlord cannot turn away a prospective tenant because they have a pet, nor can they evict an existing one who does have a pet. Exceptions are made if there are complaints indicating the pet has caused damage to the property or put other tenants' safety at risk.
Doesn't stop landlords from putting "no pets" clauses in leases to try to deter renters who don't know their rights, but those clauses are completely unenforceable.
11-09-2008, 05:48 PM
While not historical "The Godather" novel had a New York "no pets" scenario set sometime in the lare 1920's or 1930's.
Spectre of Pithecanthropus
11-09-2008, 06:21 PM
While not historical "The Godather" novel had a New York "no pets" scenario set sometime in the lare 1920's or 1930's.Still in that case, IIRC, other tenants had been complaining about the dog barking. It didn't sound like a overall prohibition.
If the apartment search websites are any indication, it doesn't seem to be all that hard to find a place where you can have pets, although as Anne Neville mentions, it may not be able to find that, and all the other features you would like.
11-09-2008, 08:46 PM
The other issue may be what exactly was the status of "pets" before 1900? In thinking about apartment living in pre-1900 New York did people really have that many cat and dog "pets" to speak of that they would cart into an apartment the way we do today. How long have litter boxes been around? Would a person even try to keep a cat strictly indoors the way we do now?
11-09-2008, 09:52 PM
It must have been a fairly common thing as far back as 1965:
Trailer for sale or rent
Rooms to let for fifty cents
No phone, no pool, no pets...
11-09-2008, 10:19 PM
I do know that some pets wreak havoc on landlords' dwelling policies. Some dog breeds -- the usual suspects like pit bulls, German shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers and a handful of others -- can make a property uninsurable. If the dog in question is a legitimate service dog or has been through a "good citizen" (or similar) training program, it would be allowed with sufficient documentation as to the completion of said program.
It's easier to have a blanket ban on pets than to have to develop policies for specific types of pets.
vBulletin® v3.7.3, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.