Chicago Living

Building Pet Policies: Why They Exist, and What to Do About Them

In terms of building pet policies, you can find quite the range in between “All pets welcome” and “No pets allowed.”

When it comes to determining a pet policy, landlords often draw from a number of reasons. Pets can cause damage, decreasing a unit’s value. It’s one thing to deal with pet odors in a carpet. It’s another issue entirely when tiny cat claws have scratched up hardwood floors.

And in some cases, landlords place restrictions on pets for the comfort and safety of other tenants. A family-friendly building with many small children might be hesitant to allow large breed dogs. Or some might be catering to the sensitive allergies of an existing tenant.

That said, even when encountering a hard and fast “No pets allowed” rule, there might be some wiggle room for you and Fido. In most cases, there are city, state, and federal laws that require accommodating tenants with disabilities.

These laws often help pet owners with legitimate disabilities. Typically, it’s a case involving a blind tenant and his or her Seeing Eye dog. These tenants can often submit a waiver that includes documentation of their disability and their service dog’s registration.

However, it’s an area that is growing increasingly unclear. According to the New York Times, many landlords receive requests for therapy dogs. Prospective tenants submit waivers with documentation from their therapist about how their pet helps with their treatment.

It seems, in the meantime, that landlords are in favor of permitting a few dubious cases, rather than risk turning away a legitimate therapy dog.

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