Apartment Search (and Destroy)

So, as another super fun part of our vacation, Slappy and I set out today, after my dentist appointment (more on that another time, like after I get the stupid filling on my freaking birthday), to find a new apartment. We had a list of places, all at least 20 miles east of our current place and we were ready to find a new home.

The place we currently live in is a very nice complex and it’s in a very nice neighborhood. I’m not going to tell you exactly what we pay in rent, but suffice it to say that it would make you gasp once you knew that it was only 1 bedroom/1 bathroom. We also live with like 200 college students who find it most appropriate to yell at each other between the hours of 1 and 4 am. We found out last year that our apartment complex was actually becoming a dorm for the college right near us and even worse, we didn’t hear it from our apartment complex, but rather from a friend whose brother was moving in for his freshman year of college.

The bottom line is that we pay too much for the space and to live in a dorm and we knew we could pay less and get more if we moved east. So east we went.

The first few apartments were underwhelming. It’s hard going from a brand new apartment complex to a 30 year old one. But there are very few new places in the areas we’re looking into, so this was to be expected. We determined early that washers and dryers were a deal breaker. We don’t iron much, and the dryer acts as a makeshift dewrinkler. And I’m sure as hell not walking to the community laundry area at 6 in the morning and paying 75 cents to dewrinkle my pants. I’m too old to do laundry in public, see also lazy. Another absolute deal breaker was the second bathroom, my marriage hinges upon it. Ditto with the dishwasher. I realize this makes me spoiled, but it’s not like I wasn’t planning on paying for it.

Several hours and tours later we found an apartment we liked, it’s a 2 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom townhome. The appliances are a little outdated, but otherwise, it’s nice and pretty much exactly what we were looking for. It’s within a few miles of my husband’s work, we know some others who live there and they are mostly pleased, as much as anyone is ever pleased with living in an apartment complex. It even has a racquetball court on site, which is pretty great for us. It totally raises our chances of exercising to fairish. And it’s actually 200 more square feet and $200 less a month.

It’s a deal right? Well, mostly. Except for the damn pet rent.

It is completely understandable that most apartment complexes charge an extra deposit for pets. Some pets cause extra damage and an extra 500 bucks secures that the damage can be paid for and repaired. I’m totally on board with this. But pet rent is a completely different beast. It is an extra charge added each month to your rent, PER PET.

Um, what?

To me, extra rent for pets only makes sense if they also charge extra rent for kids, for roommates and for men, because they are all often astoundingly messy. And yet, all the apartments had a pet rent policy, none of them have a kid rent one. Kids puke, pee and draw all over walls. They destroy things all the damn time. My cats literally never puke, seriously almost never pee outside of the designated locations (that has happened twice in 6 years) and have yet to draw on a wall. And yet, I’m being asked to pay an extra fee each month for them to live with me. A fee that is non-refundable if my cats do not do any damage to the place.

So now we are not only shelling out an extra $500 for the pet deposit, but also an extra $40 a month for pet rent. It kind of take away from the greatness of the place. And yea, we could’ve lied and said we only had one cat or had none at all, but we didn’t and for that, we’ll pay an extra $980 this year. People with kids have no extra cost, no extra deposit or rent, but because my very small pets aren’t people (and before you yell at me, I absolutely know that kids and cats are different, I’m just talking about potential messes), they’re increasing our monthly rent.

While I am very excited that we’ve found a new place to live, and am totally stoked to see my really dumb (but extremely sweet) cat try to tackle stairs, I am bitter at how much more money we’re having to pay than our neighbors, simply for two cats whose damage is easily covered by the extra deposit. To me this screams as a money making scheme, but it’s one that is widespread, and at least where we want to live, totally inescapable. And since there’s nothing to do about it, I’m just gonna sit here and be bitter. Join me, won’t you?

19 Responses to “Apartment Search (and Destroy)”

  • I’m bitter too! I pay pet rent for both of my 5lb pups!

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  • Blame Bob Barker and his attempts to control the pet population.

    (Kidding, btw.)

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  • i pay pet rent as well. It is an extra fee but it is worth it for my furry babies

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  • Speaking as a mother of a two year-old who is both 1) hyper and 2) male, you are absolutely right about your cats. They are MUCH less destructive. I used to have to pay an extra $100 a month for pet rent in college when I had a cat, so your fee seems… reasonable. At least, as reasonable as highway robbery ever gets.

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  • Al_Pal:

    Wow, rough. I’ve never heard of pet rent. They [apt complexes] getcha for everything, don’t they? *eyeroll*

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  • When we were looking at apartments downtown, they would only accept dogs (if at all) under 25lb. Of course there was the deposit and the scorn, for an animal who has never had an accident indoors, nonetheless. But the part that felt discriminatory is that our furry friend was 72lb of love, and they wouldn’t even look at us. Does he do more damage than a Pekinese? Is he more likely to bark than a Yorkie? Is he more prone to accidents than a Shih-tzu? It made absolutely no sense, and the message those apartment buildings sent us was, “We don’t want your kind here.”

    So we went elsewhere. Our poor pup has been blamed for more than his fair share of destruction, from carpets, to mouse infestations, to cat urine. People are just prejudiced against animals that can be house-broken within months, while it takes human children years to be able to even eat without throwing Spaghetti O’s all over the wall.

    It’s sad the rest of us have to pay the price for a few irresponsible pet owners.

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  • Flea:

    Holy schamoly! Seriously? I’ve had all KINDS of pets, as well as three kids. I’m right there with ya on the kids causing more damage than the pets. Dang, woman.

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  • Most apartments I’ve lived in have charged pet rent (in addition to the non-refundable pet deposit). It’s annoying, and I agree that the logic is dumb, but I figure it’s a relatively minor hassle in the grand scheme of things.

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  • Jess:

    If they could get away with charging extra rent for kids they would.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Jess, Ha, you’re probably right. It’s probably only for pets because they haven’t found a legal way to charge more for kids.

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    Kathy Reply:

    @Katie, That’s exactly right. Just like banks are finding new ways to charge us fees, landlords are getting every cent they can.

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  • the pet deposit seems most exorbitant to me – $500 might make sense for large dogs or something, but cats? Absurd. And I totally understand that feeling of getting ripped off every month because you have to pay the extra rent (although I’ve seen pet rent over $100, so at least it’s only $40). Try to focus one the fact that even with the pet rent you are still paying less $ than your rent now. But man, that is annoying!

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  • Grace:

    Not too long ago, you told us about all of the damage your cat did to the current apartment.

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    Katie Reply:

    Shesh. I did not realize it was contradictory commenter week. Though I appreciate that you didn’t call me names like the others, if you actually read the post all the way through, you’d have the response to your statement already.

    Yes, my cat did damage that to our apartment, damage that will be MORE than covered by the deposit we gave. Aside from the blinds and the carpet, which would’ve been replaced regardless thanks to our apartment’s policy, the cats have done no damage to the place…

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  • Beth:

    Glad you found a place! Sam was the bane of our rental existence. Finding a place that didn’t flip out over my 68 lb dog who only did damage to the last place we lived … And to the house we bought. P would burst a vessel if so eons tried to charge him rent for her, though.

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  • Kathy:

    But it’s just temporary right? Within a couple of years you’ll be a position to buy a home of your own. Then no more pet deposit or pet rent!

    I had the same thing happen to me in San Diego. It was a condo that the owner was leasing out himself and he didn’t bother telling us he was jacking up the rent by $150 (for our dog) until we were signing the paperwork. We negotiated it down…but holy moly! Then when we moved up to SE Washington, the economy is so good here it was damned near impossible to find a place to rent and since landlord could be picky…so nobody was taking pets. Thank goodness we found a house through a friend. No pet deposit or rent. Got lucky.

    The things we go through for our animals…

    By the way…was just trying to tell you my side of the story of doctors a couple of posts back. Sorry to be contrary, but at least I wasn’t doing any name calling :) You’re one of the few bloggers that I truly enjoy reading, so I’d hate to think I’ve ticked you off.

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    Katie Reply:

    @Kathy, You are not being contrary. Not even a little bit and don’t you dare apologize. I actually have been giving a lot of thought to what you said. I’m not sure where I’m going to go with it, but it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

    And yes, you’re right, this apartment is temporary, probably still a few years away from owning a home, but this won’t be forever and someday I can have as many cats as I want. Okay fine, as many as my husband will let me. :)

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  • Linda:

    Yup, its a scam and they do it because they can. Rather like landlords here in Malaysia keeping the 2 months deposit when you move out because they know its extremely difficult for a foreigner to take a local to court. Grrrrr.

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  • Janette:

    Do you know what’s funny? My twin 9 month olds have done more damage to this damn carpet than my 2 dogs have EVER done in their lifetimes. We had to re-home our dogs when we moved into this townhouse (LONG story – job transfer, had to move within 3 weeks, could NOT find any place that would rent to a big dog, rents were WAY TOO HIGH for underwhelming places) but suffice to say, the doggies are in MUCH better homes than we could have ever provided. BUT, between spitting up and my husband’s propensity for dropping baby food (or rather flinging it), our carpets look SO GHETTO…it’s embarrassing! I just don’t understand pet rents either. I totally get the whole pet deposit thing. I’m with you…highway ROBBERY!!

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Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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