Chicago animal lovers who are apartment hunting in the coming spring market should be aware that the “pet process” is costly and filled with restrictions, especially if a luxury high-rise is the targeted destination.
At Presidential Towers, a complex of four high-rises at 555 W. Madison in the West Loop, renters are required to pay a one-time, non-refundable pet fee of $300 to allow a dog to reside in their apartment. And, the total monthly rent is increased by $25 to cover Fido’s occupancy. Base monthly rents start at $1,390 for a studio, $1,640 for a 1-bedroom unit and $2,520 for a 2-bedroom layout.
Presidential Tower’s “Chicago Animal Addendum” lease rider states: “Small birds and fish are welcome at no extra charge. No reptiles or exotic pets—see management for approval.” Cats are not charged a monthly rental fee as long as they are outfitted with a litter box.
A maximum of two pets are allowed per apartment. However, 21 dog breeds—including Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, German Shepard, Doberman Pinscher, Saint Bernard and Old English Sheep Dogs—are considered “restricted breeds” and not permitted at Presidential Towers because they are “deemed aggressive.”
“All dogs must be interviewed and approved by a manager prior to occupancy,” states the Animal Addendum. “A veterinary certification form must be executed by a licensed veterinarian for each dog.”
One wonders if animals also are required to sign the lease with a paw print.
At Eugenie Terrace on the Park, a 44-story high-rise at 1730 N. Clark in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, the “Pet Policy” calls for a dog weigh-in. Dogs must meet a 100-pound weight limit for the maximum two pets allowed per apartment.
Like Presidential Towers, breed restrictions apply at Eugenie Terrace. All the breeds mentioned above also are not permitted, along with Great Dane, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, “Wolf hybrids,” and any mixtures of these breeds.
The non-refundable pet move-in fee at Eugenie Terrace is $500, plus $25 monthly dog rent. Cats also must meet the 100-pound weight limit for a maximum two cats. Felines are not charged monthly pet rent. Base rents at Eugenie Terrace start at $1,755 for a studio, $2,441 for 1-bedroom units and $3,430 for 2-bedroom layouts.
Animal lovers at Presidential Towers also must agree to and heed the “Animal Rules” as tersely outlined in the lease addendum:
• The animal must not disturb the neighbors or other residents, regardless of whether the animal is inside or outside the dwelling.
• Dogs, cats and support animals must be house broken. All other animals must be caged at all times.
• Renters must not let an animal other than support animals into swimming-pool areas, laundry rooms, offices, clubrooms, other recreational facilities, or other dwelling units.
• Residents are liable for the entire amount of all damages caused by the animal, including “all cleaning, defleaing and deodorizing of carpets, doors, walls, drapes, wallpaper, windows, screens, furniture and appliances, as well as landscaping and outside improvements.”
• Presidential Towers’ management must give written authorization for a disabled person to reside with an emotional-support animal.
What about therapy animals?
Many novice property managers and “Ma and Pa” landlords may be wondering what qualifies as an emotional-support animal?
Sometimes called a comfort animal, or therapy dog, an emotional-support animal is not a pet. They are considered a medical tool to help people with mental disabilities like depression and anxiety. The animal is often a small dog, but it could be most any species that provides a person emotional support like affection or judgment-free, positive reward.
For the emotional support animal to be legal, tenants need to provide the landlord with documentation from a licensed medical professional stating that the animal is being used to manage a health condition, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Emotional-support animals are different from service animals, which are governed by additional laws and defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act as dogs trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, according to Zillow Group, Inc.
People with disabilities can request reasonable accommodation for emotional-support animals under the federal Fair Housing Act and the federal Rehabilitation Act.
Even if a landlord has a no-pets policy, the property manager cannot deny a reasonable accommodation request for a service animal. According to federal guidelines, a landlord can ask for documentation of the disability if it is not readily apparent or known.
Because an emotional-support animal is not considered a pet, according to federal guidelines, a landlord cannot ask for or collect an additional pet deposit or extra rent. Also, weight, breed or size restrictions cannot be imposed on the animal, according to Zillow Group.
However, a landlord can charge residents a fee if the emotional-support animal causes damage to the rental property provided the language is outlined in the lease.
For more housing news, visit www.dondebat.biz. Don DeBat is co-author of “Escaping Condo Jail,” the ultimate survival guide for condominium living. Visit www.escapingcondojail.com.