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Apartment Hunting with Reptiles

Discussion in 'Help *General*' started by aromatherapykim, Apr 14, 2014.

  1. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    Ok so I'm on the search for an apartment and im getting a majority of no's because of the reptiles. I don't have anything crazy. Bearded dragon, leopard tortoise, cresties, fat tailed, & milk snake. Does anyone have suggestions or expierence with apartment hunting and reptiles and how to get accepted.
    I don't want to sneak them in, I have too many to hide when maintenance comes around and I don't want to be put in a bad position with the complex later on.
    I'd love any suggestions
     
  2. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    The tortoise is whats going to be really difficult. First try to find ones that are pet friendly. Then when you go to look at the apartments take a picture of the animal and its entire cage. Make sure to point out that the animal only gets XX big (down play the size as much as you can) and emphasize that they never leave their fully enclosed tank so no possibility of them damaging the apartment. It doesnt matter if you actually let them run loose or not as they will never be in a position that the manager will see them running around-well as long as you dont answer your door while wrapped in snakes.
    Honestly though you may be better off looking for a house to rent. I found a really small 1bedroom 1bath and instead of asking the management company I asked the house owner directly if I could have reptiles. The owner was fine with it where as the management company wouldnt have allowed it if I didnt insist on speaking to the owner.
     
  3. safftaft

    safftaft Well-Known Member

    Another suggestion, though this is more of a last resort, is to see if you can claim them as therapy animals. It may not legally work everywhere but when I worked for an apartment complex we had a resident who got a doctors letter stating that his snake was a vital part of their therapy sessions and that it helped calm his depressive state. Most property managers do not want the word lawsuit even mentioned in their offices so they will budge quickly. Again that's a last resort idea to keep you and your animals from being homeless. Not sure what the market's like where you are but where I live it's cheaper overall to buy a house too.
     
  4. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    The downside with the whole therapy animal card is that even if it gets your reptile in, the landlord can asses an extra fee for the animals - sometimes up to $100 per month per animal - which can get very costly with even a modest collection.

    You might ask vaguely if they allow caged small animals - that could include anything from birds, to guinea pigs to snakes.

    The apartments I was at only really cared about un-caged animals - cats and dogs that were likely to damage the walls/floors/etc. If it lived in a box, they didn't care how many you had.

    Renting from a private owner is probably the best bet though.
     
  5. safftaft

    safftaft Well-Known Member

    If it's a true assistance animal such as a seeing eye dog then that's illegal under the fair housing act as their considered necessary aides. Doesn't really apply to the conversation but definitely good knowledge to have :) You can also just chance it, and if a maintenance person says something a small bribe goes a long way with those guys. Even something like a bottle of medium label liquor or movie passes will usually get them to look the other way. That's what we do every now and then.
     
  6. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    Most apartments seem to have either a complete no or a no because of the snake (because he can get out and burrow?) I think I could open up a much bigger range of options without him but I don't want to lie and don't want to part with him.
     
  7. Darkbird

    Darkbird Elite Member

    Like Dragoness said, it may help some if you asked more about caged pets rather than reptiles specifically. Although I had that not work ojt in the end once for me so maybe not. Bottom line is that most rentals aren't pet friendly, at least around here, as those renting out the properties want to eliminate as many potential issues as possible. I almost didn't get one place years ago because the landlord was more concerned about all the fish tanks and the associated water changes running up the water bill. Didn't care at all about the reptiles. Of course I didn't have nearly the collection then that I do now.
     
  8. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Well if they are ok with every other type of animal then it may be worth not mentioning him. Snakes are a major safety hazard to rentals as they will get out and eat children, cats, and dogs-granted your snakes like 2ft long but he could still eat a 4ft fat child (I have no idea how its physically possible but thats besides the point). And if its only the snake that needs to be hidden then that isnt as big of a deal and it may come down to the point that your going to have to ommit him from your list of reptiles.
     
  9. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    Yea im kind of thinking of keeping the snake on the down low and just keeping him in my bedroom
     
  10. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    and snakes are easy enough to keep in tubs or inside a cabinet of some sort that can be closed off that its not an issue to hide him.
     
  11. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    So it looks like snakes and spiders are actually prohibited on the Texas housing lease so it's pretty state wide. I have one snake and 3 young spiders. I think they'll be just worth not mentioning. The most recent calls I've made I've just said geckos, lizard, and turtle (so people don't imagine a giant galapagos tortoise when they hear tortoise hehe).
    Any other suggestions would be appreciated!! I'm nervous about lying or more of not disclosing everything but I need an apartment and don't want to part with anyone.
    Some of yall out there have got to live in apartments! I'd love to hear from you!
     
  12. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Whenever I have an animal that needs to be hidden I make their cage out of converted furniture. For instance an armoire with sliding glass doors just inside the regular solid wood doors that way if you want to see the animal you leave the wood doors open. Dont want to see him close the doors. For extra security you can also add a decorative lock so people cant open the wood doors without you.
     
  13. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    Hmm good idea. I don't think maintenance comes through apartments very often at all from what I've heard. The place I'm at now they're In and out every few days "renovating" which has taken around 6 months so far.
    I think keeping 1 40 gal a secret won't be too hard.
     
  14. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    The apartments I lived in were very relaxed - but maintenance did visit once a month. I had half of my living room filled with tanks and cages. They didn't care.

    Another consideration is that you can't opt out of some things (like pesticide treatments) because you do not OWN the property - and some of those chemicals can be hazardous to your herps.

    Hiding cages might be simple, but it isn't advisable, because you can get in some pretty serious trouble if you are found out.
     
  15. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    I completely understand hiding cages is not advisable. I can't Imagine parting with my snake or spiders. When I viewed the place I like best I was told that reptiles wouldn't be an issue. So I'm hoping this is true, also im hoping I can find space for more tank so I can add some new member :)
     
  16. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Good luck!
     
  17. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    another thing to do is to read the lease agreement from top to bottom - every paragraph and addendum. They usually have very concise language as to what is and is not allowed. That will be the legal document to which you are held, if any questions should arise. If the lease makes no mention of reptiles being prohibited, then it is probably safe. If reptiles are not prohibited in any way (including a vague way) then the apartment can't start a lawsuit with you (although they can change the rules, and force you to move out with as little as 90 days notice.). If there is nothing in the contract about reptiles, then you aren't breaking rules by having them.

    You have every right to review that contract before you sign it, or before you even put a deposit down. Just ask. It's a lot more direct than asking people sometimes. Look at lease agreements from every possible place. Some of them also publish a "rule book" that is a condensed version of the lease agreement in layman's terms describing what is and isn't allowed, and will typically include emergency maintenance numbers etc.

    Be wary of vague language - like "dangerous animals" which have a lot of grey areas that are totally open to interpretation. You and I know your sand boa is harmless, but to the wrong person, it's a man-eating monster that kills babies in their sleep.
     
  18. aromatherapykim

    aromatherapykim Elite Member

    Thanks I will see definitely look through the lease very closely.
    Here's my next question. The actual moving process. What do you suggest. I have a bearded dragon, 2 crested geckos, a fat tailed gecko, a leopard tortoise & milk snake.
    I'm hiring movers so I think i'll empty all tanks, put everyone into container store bins, and drive the critters over and let the movers take the tanks. Then once tanks get set I'll start setting up and moving the critters in as soon as possible.
     
  19. Thalatte

    Thalatte Elite Member

    Make sure they load the tanks last so that they are the First thing unloaded. Also you will want to pack a box to take with you with all the essentials they will need like their lights, heating pads, and water bowls. That way you dont lose that box in the move and the animals are without heat for a day or so while you frantically search for the one box thats probably buried under the mountain of heavy boxes in the back of some room thats so jam packed you cant move around in it very well...done that. Now I make sure any essentials go with me.
     
  20. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    Buy shoebox style containers for all of your critters (or smaller, for the really little guys) and stack them all neatly in one large storage container (with those disposable hand warmer style heaters along one wall, so everyone can stay warm.) You can pad it with clothing, blankets, or towels to keep them from bumping around. Just make sure it is ventilated, and all the small containers are too.

    When I moved, it was 1,200 miles, with a truckload of animals. We also took plug in heat pads that we plugged into at the hotels at night.
     

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