View Full Version : Stuck - pet agreement change at apartment (kitty pics!)

04-14-2009, 02:41 AM
When I moved into my apartment complex, the pet rules were up to 2 cats, $250 non-refundable deposit. I had one cat at the time. For a while, nearly added a 2nd but my cat terrorized him (despite them once living together peacefully) so he went back to my mom's that weekend.

I added Tessa to the family this fall. Finally got around to telling the Leasing Office when turning in April's rent. The problem being that now the policy has changed. I had previously asked what I would be under since I came in under the old rules and nobody knew or would make a decision and the only times the Office Manager was in, I was at work. They open 30 min after I start work and close right when I leave, so no opportunity there to really address it. I was told to come in and ask about it when I was closer to getting a 2nd cat.

The person I talked to now said she'd have the OM call me. That was two Saturdays ago. I finally was able to listen to my voice mails from last week, and on Friday I got this:

"There's a $250 deposit and you've already paid that for your first cat, so don't worry about that. Just stop by the office and fill out the agreement for the new one.....and the pet fee of $20/mo will start for the new one. Stop by to fill out the info and good luck with the two cats together!" :eek:

I'm sorry, what? Ok, yes, that is the current pet policy on the website. I'd MUCH rather pay another $250 than $20/mo as I plan to stay at least one more year (lease is up in June) if not 2-3 more. But I came in under the old rules. Nobody knew how they would handle it. Yes, I goofed getting Tessa before I knew the answer, and I probably should have asked them what it would be before they knew I had a 2nd cat (aka they have me stuck now) but I had a maint request that badly needed done and I figured it was better to tell them than have it reported (however unlikely that would be).

I've been a good renter, been in this apartment since 2005 and a year in the one next door. Don't ask for much, pay rent on time, am quiet, plant flowers outside my place so it makes this building look nice, etc. My cats don't mess up the place other than a little litter ground into the carpets which get deep-cleaned when people move anyway.

Am I out of line for thinking that the pet policy I came in under and had my first cat under should apply to Tessa also? What if (Goddess Forbid) something had happened to Lilly and I got another cat after? Would the old agreement apply then still since it was a replacement, not an additional?

My mom says to go to the office and just repeat "When I came here, it was $250 deposit and up to two cats." Don't get into any of the rest. What do you all think? I'm going to ask someone at work tomorrow (Corporate Lawyer) just for that side of things and I just looked through my most current lease and there is no mention of the pet policy other than only cats are allowed with the signing of a pet agreement. They might pull the "this is the current agreement" argument though.

I adore Tessa, I'm glad I got her when I did. But I have very little extra money and things aren't going to get better for 6-12 months or so (no shuffling of positions except laterally, no promotions at work) so that extra $20 will make a difference.

How can I put a price on this face?


Or this one? (She's giving her tough guy look to the people who will deprive her of catnip and jingly balls!)


A kitty always needs a friend to clean their ears, too.


So, what do you think - am I SOL? How would you approach it?

04-14-2009, 03:52 AM
Cute kitty. The second picture is adorable. Do you have a copy of the original pet agreement? I would check to see what the agreement said. I think if you have a current pet agreement that says you can have up to two cats that that stands with the second cat too. But let me know what the original pet agreement says and that might help more.

04-14-2009, 12:34 PM
They look like my dad's old kitties!! Adorable!

04-14-2009, 02:47 PM
If you hadn't told them, how would they know you had a second cat? Cats aren't noisy the way dogs can be.

I would tell them that you're not keeping the second cat. Should they ever stop by your place and see the second cat, I'd tell them you were cat-sitting or something.

Oh, and those kitties are just too cute!

04-14-2009, 03:03 PM
Cats not as noisy as dogs? Ever had a female cat in heat? Oh dear gosh......that howling....roooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwww rowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww meooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww i'm so arowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwsed!!MAUWWWWWWWW!! Forgive me, horrible memories of Baby in heat.....she was way louder than any snippy little dog or even when Bear gets angry and growls and barks loudly.

I'd just be happy you can have cats where you live. Apartments around here that allow pets will run you close to $800+ a month (that's including everything else you'd already be paying, but what will really get you is the pet deposit and extra fees every month, some places will charge you a pet deposit almost as much as your security deposit and the monthly pet fee can be even more expensive than a cable bill....which, in this part of Wisconsin, would be a ripoff. Most people already call my apartment a ripoff because $600 is even quite expensive for an apartment around here).

04-14-2009, 03:14 PM
Double check your agreement. Specifically, look for a phrase along the lines of "Property owner reserves the right to change the terms of the agreement at any time." If that is in there, you are screwed. If there's no mention of anything along the lines, challenge it. A rental agreement is an iron-clad, legally binding contract and without that little reservation in place, they are as bound to it just as you are.

04-14-2009, 07:35 PM
Mind you, that little change the agreement clause usually comes with something like "with 30 days notification" tagged on. If they have that they can change it, but have to notify you, they're still screwed, as they didn't. Unless they put a copy of the new agreement on the noticeboard downstairs or something and you just didn't see it.

04-14-2009, 11:07 PM
You might be able to make a case for being under the original agreement until the end of your current lease, unless there's language that says they can change the terms with X amount of notice (which for the most part they should not be able to do mid-term). If there's nothing to that effect, they should be bound to the terms of the lease as it stands. When it comes up for renewal, though, they could change it with no repurcussions and say take it or leave it.

04-15-2009, 01:55 AM
By the love of Bast.....that third pic has to get LOLcattted.

Adordable kitties. :) I think you should be "grandfathered," and let the old policy apply....but then again, I don't believe in charging for pets. Talk to the powers that be...I hope they will be fair.

My bf's condo doesn't allow pets at all....quite a few people, including him, smuggled in furbabies

04-15-2009, 03:51 AM
A corporate lawyer at work said he'd look over my lease and other paperwork for me to let me know if he thinks I have grounds to try to fight this. Unfortunately, my original pet agreement (for the apartment next door, they never updated it when I moved!) says ONE cat. No other pet would be covered on that specific arrangement. It's a one-pager w/basic description and requirement to spay/neuter and declaw. I think that's where they'll get me.

If you hadn't told them, how would they know you had a second cat? Cats aren't noisy the way dogs can be.

I would tell them that you're not keeping the second cat. Should they ever stop by your place and see the second cat, I'd tell them you were cat-sitting or something.

Yeah, Tessa's going to "go back to my mom's" and I'll watch her occasionally when my mom is "out of town" if necessary. People here have dog that are "just visiting" for months on end and dogs aren't allowed at all, so if they're going to try to crack down on me, they better do it to everyone.

A coworker said to just move, buy a place with the market the way it is. It might even be better financially (my mom has put 10K to my sister's wedding and said she'd do the same for me - or I could use it for a down payment on a house) but the extra expenses and I don't know if the financing would kick me out of the repayment programs I am on for my credit cards.

Good market to buy, not the right time yet for me. Although I may reassess in a year or two when the guy who broke in is released from jail - he is the type to come back for revenge (already did, I firmly believe).

Thanks guys - I'll let you know what happens.
And yes, I am totally LOLcatting the last photo. :roll:

04-15-2009, 04:12 PM
....but then again, I don't believe in charging for pets.

Neither do I. When I lived in an apartment, I paid a $150 pet deposit (may have been up to $250, though, I'm not sure any more), plus an additional $15 each in pet rent for my two dogs.

To my knowledge, my neighbors with annoying children didn't have to pay more to keep them.

04-16-2009, 01:18 AM
And children are likely to do more damage!

Coworker said I would probably have been fine because the pet agreement did not have dates on it or an expiration date except for the whole lack of them updating it when I moved apartments.

So Tessa will be my mom's cat. I'll just cat-sit her 24/7/365. :rolleyes: :D

Let this be a lesson - make sure everything is up to date and get the policy before you tell them you have a pet!

On another note, if I was able to charge them $.05 for each other critter in my apartment right now, that would cover the "pet charge" for at least a year. Yes, I've been invaded by ants. Got the trappy things out already - thought I had them beat last month. If they're not under control by Friday, there's a maint request for them when I tell them about Tessa's change of status.

04-16-2009, 02:30 AM
I totally agree....if I had Baby fixed and declawed, she would be fit to live anywhere that's rented. Children can cause way more damage than pets. It's just that pet urine can soak into the floorboards and is very hard to get rid of....replacing the carpet and cleaning it doesn't always work. Although I can count many times that my brother or I had accidents through our diapers as kids on the floor.

At least cats and dogs don't draw on the walls and make holes in the walls.

I am going to start charging my landlord a "pest fee" when we get invaded by June Bugs in the summer and Japanese Beetles in the fall. In fact, if it gets as bad as the last two years, I will call the Orkin man and give my landlord the bill.