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URGENT- need legal advice regarding apt and cats

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I am sooo frustrated!! I found out 2 weeks ago that I have to move out of my basement apt BEFORE APRIL 30TH so my landlord can put his house on the market May 1st.

I have been SEARCHING SEARCHING SEARCHING for an apt that is within my price range AND will accept 4 cats. I am getting really desperate because most apts either WON'T accept cats OR ONLY UP TO 1-2 cats, NOT FOUR cats! Some friends told me to get rid of 2 so I can have an easier time finding an apt!! I REFUSE TO DO THAT. I WILL QUIT MY JOB AND MOVE HOME TO UTAH TO LIVE WITH MY PARENTS AS THE LAST RESOURCE AND REFUSE TO GIVE ANY OF MY CATS UP! It really makes me angry that friends who KNOWS me would actually suggest this. They KNOW how much my 4 cats means to me.

I looked into the possibilty of buying a small home/condo/townhouse but I am not ready financially yet for that.

Now, I am SERIOUSLY considering LYING to apt complexes and say I have TWO cats. However, some ppl warned me that if apt complexes find out I lied, they can evict me right there. I was wondering what the legal consquences are if I did lie (I RARELY lie so this shows how desperate I am!!). Would they kick me out?? Fine me???

I need advice ASAP..

I TH
post #2 of 26
i wouldn't be of any help to you but here's a big hug for you.. *hugs* hopefully things get better for you really soon!!
post #3 of 26
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hissy,

Yeah I already tried that link- the problem is that link shows cities which are FAR from my workplace. I am trying to find a place within 30-45 min drive from my work..

Do u know of legal action apt complexs would take against ppl who would lie about # of pets??
post #5 of 26
No I am sorry I do not. I know lots of people smuggle cats in, but usually after they live there not during their initial move. Pet deposits are usually asked for and based on how many cats you have.
post #6 of 26
You might want to get a copy of your state's landlord/tenants rights handbook, so you will know exactly what your state's laws are regarding having pets in apartments, and what your rights are as a current pet owner. I think you might be able to get a copy of one of these books through either a social services office or city hall. I don't know if this helps you at all.

I hope you keep all your cats, good luck!!!
post #7 of 26
I rent apartments and houses to live in, never have I had a problem finding a place to live with 4 or 5 cats. This is the first house I have even told the landlord I had a pet i told him I only havee one cat. He even came over to the house after we moved in. I put the 4 other cats in th bedroom until he left He never had a clue.

Just dont say anything or if you have the money for the pet deposit, tell them you only have one cat. If they ever see a cat tell them you are babysitting a family members cat while they are on vacation.

Of course this is just my opinion and you should make up your own mind on this subject (but...I have rented for about 6 years now with no problems at all).

Good luck to you
post #8 of 26
I don't know the legal aspects of lying about the number of cats you have,but I do have to say that honestly if it were me and I could not find a place that allowed all of my cats..then I would lie before I got rid of any of them.
To me that would be like someone saying..."We only allow 1 or 2 kids here..you will have to do something with the rest of them"..NO WAY!!Ain't happening.
My cats are my kids.
I do have one human child also and he makes a much bigger mess(crayon on wall..etc...)than the cats do.

Good luck.
I hope you are able to find a place that you won't have to lie about the number of cats...but if not...sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Just show them one of the black ones and one of the black/white ones..they'll probably never know the difference.
post #9 of 26
Pamela, sorry to read about your frustrations I would be too. If they find out you have more than 2 cats I know they can evict you but I would think they would still have to give you 30 days.. not sure.

http://www.hsus.org/ace/11819
post #10 of 26
Ok. Where in Maryland do you live? Is yours a WRITTEN lease? Is it for a year, month-to-month, or six months? Did you received verbal or written notice to vacate? When does the actual original lease expire? What date were you notified (BE SPECIFIC!) Did you pay a security deposit? Did you pay a pet deposit? Were you HONEST about how many pets you had and is that on the written lease (if you have one)? All these are VERY IMPORTANT. As a tenant, you may have certain rights especially if you were not given ample notice. He wants to sell the property, how nice. Go rent a copy of the movie with Michael Keaton about the tenant from hell. If the landlord has screwed up, will explain how you can introduce him to that guy's long lost neice (not nIce...)

Don't get mad. It's counter productive. learn the law and use it to your advantage...
post #11 of 26
I read this whole thing about being really honest and upfront and telling what a great pet owner you are etc etc. And some landlords would rather have a great tenant with 4 cats than a bad one with none. I think it's worth a try, when you are young you think the world is all set and structured with rules. But then later you learn hey, you can work with this and negotiate things.
post #12 of 26
I am on the side of being honest since you never know how things are going to turn out. I do think they may be able to evict you especially if the pet policy is in the written agreement. Not too sure if this is a close example but there are instances where the agreement state that only 4 people are allowed but in reality the person lied and there was 6 people (2 Parents + 4 Kids). The family was evicted and there is no legal redress. As a long shot, if you happen to be disabled and that the pets are necessary as part of your therapy and you have a letter from the doctor then the landlord would have to accomodate.

Alternatively, try to find a place which is further from your workplace but allows 4 cats. Then use that as your bargaining tool with the next closer place. Telling them what the other place is offering.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
First of all, I wanted to thank u guys for all the support and tips u've given me so far.

Mark, I would NEVER go THAT far as Michael Keaton did in that movie !! LOL. I know you were kidding. Grin. As per your questions asked in your reply to this..

I live in Prince George's County. Unfortunately, I don't have a WRITTEN lease on my current apartment. Here's some background on this- this is a basement apt in a house and they are renting it out to me at a very cheap rate and doesn't have permission from the city. If the city found out they were renting out, my landlord would have to pay extra fees, etc whatever meaning my rent would be raised so this is not a "formal apartment agreement". I paid 1st and last month rent and a security deposit when I first moved in so I don't have to pay rent for the month of April.

My landlord has been pretty GREAT AND FLEXIBLE with me for the last 2 1/2 years though! In the last 2 1/2 yrs, I have trapped/brought in a total of 13 stray cats/kittens (NOT INCLUDING MY OWN CATS). I have kept most of these cats/kittens for a week to 6 months (getting them fixed, tamed, kittens being weaned from the mom cat, etc) before finding homes for them or releasing outside. The only thing my landlord said when he found out once that I had a mother cat who just gave birth to 5 kittens was, "Just make sure the carpet is not damaged and this won't be permanent right??" Originally I moved in with two cats. Now I'll be moving out with FOUR cats!

So he has been pretty great about it. The only time he really complained was about me leaving cat food out all day/night because he felt it looked messy on the porch and he didn't want possums coming around due to him having kids. We were able to come to a copromise regarding me feeding ferals/strays and it worked out fine. Sooo, I don't want to be a tenant from hell with this family. It's TEMPTING though cuz I WISH I have more time before moving! However, this family just bought a house 2 weeks ago on March 14 (they weren't expecting it to happen this fast either) and they said I was the first to be notified (even before family!) because they wanted to give me enuff notice to start looking. They HAVE to put the current house on the market May 1st so that's why they said I MUST be out before April 30th.

They now are telling me as an incentive for me to move out a couple days BEFORE April 30th, they will give me some money back per day so they can fix the basement up (painting, etc).

Quote:
I read this whole thing about being really honest and upfront and telling what a great pet owner you are etc etc. And some landlords would rather have a great tenant with 4 cats than a bad one with none. I think it's worth a try, when you are young you think the world is all set and structured with rules. But then later you learn hey, you can work with this and negotiate things.
I AGREE with u about being honest. I DO NOT BELIEVE in lying. I have tried to negotiate with some landlords regarding 4 cats (told them that my cats are trained NOT to knead on the carpet, etc and that I keep the apt very clean, etc) but they all say SORRY- ONLY UP TO TWO CATS! NO FURTHER DISCUSSION. Negotiating with apt complexes are a bit more difficult for me than normal cuz I'm deaf so I tend to communicate with hearing ppl via writing. Often ppl get impatient waiting for me to write and having to write their replies to me so that makes it harder for me to negotiate with them. Another fear I have about lying is being caught and kicked out.

I have pretty much given up on finding an apartment. It is looking more and more likely that either I will have to buy a place (unlikely due to not being ready financially/emotionally) or move back home to Utah. This is not the SOLE reason for moving back to Utah. There are other factors in this but I will not go into this here.

What I've decided to do at this point is give it more time- 1 to 2 more weeks (I've contacted Real Estate realtors to see if they can help me find something and I'll keep calling and looking) and if I have NO LUCK finding something this week or next week then I'll know it's the right thing for me to move back to Utah. My family will BE THRILLED. They have been trying to get me to move back for the last 7 years and are willing to do ANYTHING to get me to move back. They're offering me a FREE basement (will make it into an private apt for me if needed) and this would help me to pay off all my bills AND save up a lot faster for a house. Sooo, I guess we'll just wait and see how it goes this week and next week.

Oh, for some of u guys who are familiar with Callie (posted a thread on her in Ferals/strays- http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...threadid=33337), I've decided it's not fair to take her in since she's still very wild and this is her terrority so I've asked a neighbor if she'd be willing to start feeding/caring for Callie and she said YES!! Sooo, Callie WILL be taken care of after I move. I will miss her but I think it's for the best this way.

If u guys think of any suggestions/ideas/advice, continue to share them here!

Also for ANY OF U GUYS OUT THERE WHO ARE OWNERS OF APT COMPLEXES- change the policy about limiting to two cats! It's very disencouraging to see how limited housing can be if u have more than one or two cats!

OOPS.. I am sorry this is sooo long!!!
post #14 of 26
Pamela, I am sorry that you are having this trouble but I thought of something. I am sure your area has a deaf services office - can you go in there and ask if they can help you find an apartment and get someone to help you negotiate - with an interpreter?

Hth.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by Pamela
Do u know of legal action apt complexs would take against ppl who would lie about # of pets??
Pamela,

If you are in violation of a term of your apartment lease (e.g., you have more pets than permitted under the lease), the odds are that your lease agreement would provide for immediate termination of the lease and you would be obligated to vacate the apartment. You could also expect this to lessen the chances of your receiving an amicable return of any deposit you may have paid.

You can of course take your chances in violation of the terms of the lease, but if you do you must be prepared for the consequences.

The above is assuming that you have a written lease which addresses this question. If you take an apartment and a written lease is not required you will most likely occupy the apartment on an oral month-to-month tenancy, which will likely permit your landlord to evict you with no more than one month's notice.

All this is just general guidance about what the law generally is, and local law may well be different, so you would be well-advised to consult a local attorney. You may not consider this to be legal advice upon which you can rely. This is an area where State and local authorities often change these general rules.

All the best,

Jim
post #16 of 26
Good Luck! I know what you are going through. I've never had more than two cats at a time though.
post #17 of 26
Do you think you'd have enough money for a mobile home? They are usually cheaper than houses and condo's. Maybe you could afford something like that. Personally, I don't go for telling lies, but I guess I'd do it if I had to. Aren't a some of your cats very similar in coloring? Maybe you could get by saying you have two, that way. Problem would be if all 4 got in the windows at the same time.

Anyway I'd look into a trailer if I were you.
post #18 of 26
If you check out the Humane Society website link Sicy provided, you can also find info on that site to make up resumes for your cats to show potential landlords.

I've always had the best luck renting from private individuals rather than complexes - the owner is free to make exceptions to the rules based on personal choice, where the complexes usually can't bend. Perhaps you could find a garage apartment, or a large house that's been split into apartments? Try driving or bicycling around town and looking for "for rent" signs in the older neighborhoods, the ones with larger homes and carriage houses. Sometimes they'll even have tile or linoleum floors, and the landlord might not be as paranoid about pets b/c there's no carpet.

I've also had more luck just going & talking to the landlord first, and then bringing up the issue of pets. Hopefully if you come across to them as a responsible individual, they'll be more open to the pet idea after they've met you, where over the phone they would just say no.

I like Kiwi's idea about an interpreter, too. An interpreter would be able to keep up the pace of conversation, and help convey emotion that's difficult to express in writing.

Good luck.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by Pamela
Also for ANY OF U GUYS OUT THERE WHO ARE OWNERS OF APT COMPLEXES- change the policy about limiting to two cats! It's very disencouraging to see how limited housing can be if u have more than one or two cats!
I can really sympathize with you, since we at one point had to find an apartment with a large dog and a very loud Siamese cat for a few months while looking for a permanent place to live.
We don't own any apartment complexes, but we do own one house we rent out, and co-own another. We don't have any policy regarding the house we own ourselves, except "pets allowed", which in retrospect was probably a mistake, because for a few years the tenants had way too many pets that weren't being treated properly, IOO. For example, their dog was restricted to the kitchen and upstairs hallway, which simply wasn't enough room for him, and the caged animals were in the unheated cellar. We had a long talk with them, and they "saw the light" (these people grew up in apartments themselves, and had never had pets before). We should have put a clause requiring written permission for any/all pets in the lease. The other house is a quadruplex which we bought together with my in-laws, and they insisted on a "no pet" policy. One family has two cats, and a single woman has one cat, which we are aware of thanks to a busybody neighbor who has seen them in the windows. We pretend that we're completely ignorant of the situation, and have told my in-laws that we will later alter the leases to allow "1 - 2 pets with written permission" when my husband inherits their share. That doesn't mean we would turn down somebody with 3 or 4 cats, but it would allow us to prevent someone from "hoarding" or breeding cats or dogs or chinchillas in the house. So much from a landlady's point of view.
As far as telling the truth - it depends very much on who is in charge. When we bought the one house, it was already rented out, and the lease allowed the couple's rough-haired dachshund only, and no other pets after the dog's demise. The dog was quite old, and our tenants (retired) at one point went on an extended vacation. When they came back, I saw right away that Anna, their dog, had been "rejuvenated". We didn't say anything to them until they moved a few years later, although I had hinted that I knew. They admitted then that their Anna had died, so they bought a puppy that looked like her and lived elsewhere (at their son's and at a vacation home) until she was old enough to "pass" for Anna. That was completely unnecessary, from our point of view - we would have changed the old lease if they had asked. In short, you might get away with passing four cats off for two.
post #20 of 26
Hi Pamela,

Look for a copy of Pet Lover's Companion, at most PetCo stores now -- it's a small (5x10 inches?) yellow pages for pet owners. One section lists Pet Friendly Housing. I have copies at home so if you need to, email me back and I will look some info up for you.

Also look at

http://www.metropets.org

where I think the MetroPets folks list pet friendly housing.

Think about asking for a "trial period" for you and the cats. Ask your old landlord (nicely, I know he's not been that great about your ouster, but try hard here!) for references about you and the cats as tenants. HSUS has a lot of great info on how to convince someone to rent to you with pets. BUT, I am a landlord myself. I actually had to be very hard-nosed with my property manager about this -- she does not have pets herself. I had to INSIST it was okay with me for someone with cats to live in my unit. (!) So I know kind of from the other side, just how difficult it can be.
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by Pamela


I have tried to negotiate with some landlords regarding 4 cats (told them that my cats are trained NOT to knead on the carpet, etc and that I keep the apt very clean, etc) but they all say SORRY- ONLY UP TO TWO CATS! NO FURTHER DISCUSSION. Negotiating with apt complexes are a bit more difficult for me than normal cuz I'm deaf so I tend to communicate with hearing ppl via writing. Often ppl get impatient waiting for me to write and having to write their replies to me so that makes it harder for me to negotiate with them. Another fear I have about lying is being caught and kicked out.
. . .
Oh, for some of u guys who are familiar with Callie (posted a thread on her in Ferals/strays- http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...threadid=33337), I've decided it's not fair to take her in since she's still very wild and this is her terrority so I've asked a neighbor if she'd be willing to start feeding/caring for Callie and she said YES!! Sooo, Callie WILL be taken care of after I move. I will miss her but I think it's for the best this way.
Pamela,

If you want someone to talk to some of the apartment management for you, well, I am in PG County too, I'm a landlord (see other posts) and a cat rescuer. And I have been a labor negotiator for a union, in the past too. I'm equipped, I think, to at least offer to try! I wish that I had another house, I'd rent it to you in nothing flat!

Were you adopting cats from any local organization, maybe, or did you work with one in doing rescue work? If so, maybe they would be willing to speak on your behalf, too, to the managers of the apartments. That's worth a try, maybe. Of course, I understand that you are probably very stressed over the whole thing right now, feeling nothing will work out right. I am sorry.

You are doing right by Callie (I didn't read your earlier posts but . . ) I think - it's very responsible to do as you've done, arranging for her care, and recognizing that at least she knows the snares and the comforts of where she is, and doesn't have to re-learn a new territory. If your neighbor ever needs some support with Callie, they can contact my group and we'll see that they get help.
post #22 of 26
Don't lie to your landlord. We were allowed two cats and had five. When they found out they gave us 30 days to vacate or get rid of the cats. I left. They can throw you out. We had never been late with our rent (2 years worth), never filed a complaint against anyone, never had a fight, never had the cops called to our place and it didn't make any difference.
post #23 of 26
I didnt read all the replies so I apologize if this has already been said. I know you would like to stay close to work, but if you can find an apt/condo/house to rent that is outside that general area, I would still probably take it. At least that would give you more time to look for a more ideal place. I would much rather add some time to my commute than give up my cats or move out of state. You could try to sign a short lease, like 6 months and use that time to find a place close to work that will accept all 4 of your kitties

Good luck with whatever you choose though
post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quick update-
After many hours of calling around and asking upfront if various places would accept 4 cats, I found two places that will accept 4 cats! One is about 45 min away and is a duplex. I am going to the open house on Sunday to see if it is what I'm looking for so we'll see.

Pls send me positive vibes that I will be able to make the right decision regarding where to live. Anywhere I go, my 4 babies will be coming with me!!

THANKS u guys again for all the words of advice and support. I really appreciate it.
post #25 of 26
I am thinking of you Pamela.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by Pamela
I have tried to negotiate with some landlords regarding 4 cats (told them that my cats are trained NOT to knead on the carpet, etc and that I keep the apt very clean, etc) but they all say SORRY- ONLY UP TO TWO CATS! NO FURTHER DISCUSSION. Negotiating with apt complexes are a bit more difficult for me than normal cuz I'm deaf so I tend to communicate with hearing ppl via writing. Often ppl get impatient waiting for me to write and having to write their replies to me so that makes it harder for me to negotiate with them. Another fear I have about lying is being caught and kicked out.

I have pretty much given up on finding an apartment. It is looking more and more likely that either I will have to buy a place (unlikely due to not being ready financially/emotionally) or move back home to Utah. This is not the SOLE reason for moving back to Utah. There are other factors in this but I will not go into this here.
I hope you find something suitable for you and the kitties. I know what it is like. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but I live in Utah and just found out there is a two cat limit per household here too. And it's not just for renting... it's the law here. I checked around a bit though, and found out they don't bother you if you're responsible and take good care of your cats (and as long as you're not hoarding). In fact the humane society asks on their application how many other cats (or dogs) you have in the home and they never deny someone because they already have the 2 cat limit.
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