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Pet rent could become pet peeve for C.O. renters

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Nov 14 2013 07:51:40 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 16 2013 06:17:27 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns looks at whether "pet rent" fees are coming to Central Oregon

BEND, Ore. -

Caitlyn Swarm and her family moved to Bend two weeks ago with their 3 year old pug, Reese.

"We were so excited to move here, we love Bend.This is where we've always wanted to raise our family," Swarm said.

But the process of finding a place to rent wasn't smooth sailing.

"Between 60 and 70 percent of the places we found said 'no pets,' and we were so confused by it. Because Bend is such a dog-friendly town, and we really struggled finding a place," she said.

The Swarms eventually found a place to live. But now the possibility of a new financial obstacle has many pet owners cringing -- pet rent.

"I don't think it would go over really well here, because it's such a pet-friendly town. But we do have owners trying to do that, all of a sudden -- and tenants will not like it," said Jennifer Moore, Owner of Superior Property Management in Bend.

In bigger cities like Portland, many landlords charge a monthly pet rent, on top of regular rent and a deposit. The prices vary on the size or type of pet.

The landlord is not dogging you by charging extra. Charging extra rent for extra rights like having a pet is legal, but is it reasonable in an area like Central Oregon?

"In big cities it works -- I just don't think it would go over here in Bend," Moore said.

Too late for some tenants. Some property management companies say they've seen landlords adopting the pet rent mentality.

"I've seen it from some of the larger apartment complexes in Bend. It isn't very common here -- it may trickle down from the larger areas," said Tiffany Lahey with Deschutes Property Management.
    
And if it does trickle down, the extra charge could create a negative ripple effect.

In some situations, people will end up surrendering their animals because they can't find an affordable place or the landlord won't allow pets.

"There are a lot of pet friendly rentals in Bend, but sometimes with the extra deposits and things they just simply can't afford to take their pet with them," said Karen Burns with the Humane Society of Central Oregon.

If more properties start charging pet rent, the Humane Society of Central Oregon says they could see more surrendered animals and fewer adoptions.

"I think it's going to affect the amount of people that can adopt because of finances," Burns said.

When money is already tight, Swarm says she'll just have to keep pinching pennies.

"The cost of living is cheaper here, so that could definitely throw a curve ball in there if we not only have to pay the deposit but will be charged a monthly fee that we didn't have to pay initially when we moved in," Swarm said.

Her words of advice?

"If someone's pet does cause a lot of damage, then you pay that fee. But until that happens, we should just be treated like anyone else without a pet," swarm said.

Property managers say it's always best to talk to the landlord or the property management company about pets before looking at a house or apartment so you are fully aware of the fees associated with your animals.

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