Tag Archives: rental housing

America’s pet friendly rental markets

Finding rental housing when you own a dog (or two, or more) is a big issue here in Christchurch.  Our housing market has done some very weird things since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 with sky-rocketing property prices and escalated rental costs (people getting their homes repaired move to temporary accommodation – paid by their homeowners insurance, adding to the competition for rental properties).

Those people who did not own their homes pre-quakes and were dog owners have been some of the most severely affected by the increases.

And so this article from Forbes Magazine caught my eye.  It’s about renting housing in the USA when you are a dog owner; the largest 25 property rental markets are compared.

Pet friendly rental markets

Three factors were used to rank the rental markets:

a) the percentage of landlords willing to allow pets (counted by reading the ads for rental properties)

b) the least expensive pet fees.  That’s a fee that you pay on top of any deposit because you own a pet.  Most fees are refunded when you leave the property in good condition.  Others are simply higher rents for pet owners that are non-refundable.  In Christchurch, pet fees, particularly in terms of higher deposits, suddenly appeared on many properties where there were none before.

c) and my favorite criteria:  a high concentration of pet stores and services.

The western cities of San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Oakland and Portland topped the list.

Sadly for dog lovers, the survey revealed that landlords are much more tolerant of cats than they are of dogs.  And the larger the dog, the harder time you have when renting.  Only 4% of landlords were prepared to allow large breed dogs like a St Bernard.

What this information reinforces is that dog ownership costs money.  If you are considering adding a dog to your pack, spend some time considering your income and life situation before making the commitment.

Source:  The Forbes article cited used data from this Trulia Trends report

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

It’s a sunny day at the (rented) White House

The White House’s latest edition, Sunny, appears to be settling in well as the nation’s Second Dog (the title of First Dog belongs to Bo).

Official White House photo by Pete Souza, taken 19 August 2013

Official White House photo by Pete Souza, taken 19 August 2013

When interviewed about the new addition, President Obama said that he and his wife are seeing less of their daughters now that they are growing up with active lives of their own.  “I think there is an element for Michelle and me of, you know, we see what’s coming and we need to make sure that we got somebody who greets us at the door when we get home.”

Sunny, who is a year old, is a Portuguese water dog like Bo and will be a companion for the First Dog, who is also feeling the need for company since Malia (15) and Sasha (12) are busier.  President Obama said, “Bo was getting a little down in the dumps inside the house.”

But what I really liked about the interview, and this will resonate with Christchurch dog owners who are really suffering from high rentals and pet bonds (see A mixed news week for dogs in Christchurch), was President Obama’s admission that Sunny had had a few accidents.

“We live in rental housing. We didn’t have to put down a deposit, but we are making sure that it gets cleaned up for the next occupant.”

Congratulations to the Obamas for becoming another well-adjusted multiple dog household!

(And in case you missed it, here’s the official White House video announcing Sunny’s arrival)

A mixed news week for dogs in Christchurch

It’s been a variable week of dog news here in Christchurch (to say the least).

The news was all bad by mid-week, when it was reported that two Rottweilers mauled a young boy of eight, named Mason Bennett.  Mason had been staying with his mother and her partner (who owned the dogs).    And there had been a previous incident when the dogs were aggressive with another young boy.

Read Dad’s shock at earlier attack by same dogs

The recent dog attack saw lots of comments about how Rottweilers can't be trusted.  Was it the dog or the owners who are to blame?

The recent dog attack saw lots of comments about how Rottweilers can’t be trusted. Was it the dog or the owners who are to blame?

In the same edition of the newspaper, columnist Rachel Young wrote about My dog was a rottweiler. In general, a defense of the breed, Ms Young also mentions in her story that when her family Rottweiler, Zeb, became unwell with kidney disease he became more aggressive.  Her parents decided to euthanize him.  To quote “Despite the loving environment, at times you can’t beat nature. In Zeb’s case, it seemed the protective, aggressive nature was developing as he got older and sicker.”

Which shows that even some dog owners don’t know a thing about dogs.  Maybe a sick dog lashes out because they are in pain and can’t communicate that in spoken words – and their family doesn’t get it!!!!!

This provoked a Letter to the Editor on my part – which the newspaper largely got right but they decided to edit it by attributing the dog attack to dogs that were unwell (which there isn’t any evidence of – just poor owners!)

The dog news turned for the brighter the next day when police dog Gage was honoured with the PDSA Gold Medal posthumously.  Killed in 2010 during a drug raid, Gage took a bullet that was meant for his handler Bruce Lamb.  The PDSA Gold Medal is known as the Animal’s George Cross, for civilian bravery.

Bruce Lamb tells his and Gage’s story here Shot police dog Gage honoured for bravery

Today is Monday and there is mixed news for dog owners in today’s newspaper.  Front page news is the story of landlords charging special pet bonds to allow tenants to keep pets.  This is when a tenant pays more than the standard four week’s rent upfront to secure their rental and it is illegal.

The story goes on to say that charging more for a pet-friendly rental (week to week, or month to month) is okay.  Unfortunately, since Christchurch is still in earthquake recovery mode, rental housing is at a premium.  Many dog owners don’t dare contest a pet bond because they need a home for all members of the family.  Read Landlords in dog box over pet bonds.

Further into the newspaper, some better news.  A little puppy of about six weeks old was found cowering under the seat of a car when it was stopped by police.  The offenders fled and the dog is believed to be stolen property.  A police constable is appealing for information about the wee puppy.

Read Police pursuit nets puppy

Here’s hoping that the stolen pup is returned home soon…

I’d like to see more positive news about dog and dog ownership in Christchurch.  But it seems that for every bad news story, we need about ten more to gain the confidence of the public.

How does your city/town deal with dog news?  Please get in touch.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand