Local housing should allow pets

Alisa Fox

Because of my impending graduation, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently looking at apartments in different areas of lower Michigan.

I expected it to be a lot harder than it was to find a place where my cats and I could reside peacefully. I expected to find a run-down hole in a terrible neighborhood that would charge me extra rent for both of my feline friends.

Instead, I found that almost no apartment complexes downstate had any sort of problem with cats or small dogs (bigger dogs were a different matter). This makes me wonder, what did small animals ever do to the landlords of Marquette? Finding a place around here that accepts any animal at all is like finding that ever elusive needle in the inexplicable haystack that keeps popping up everywhere.

The answer, most say, is “this is a college town and the students before have burned bridges with misuse and uncleanliness.” Landlords were sick of renovating ruined apartments.

I searched through other college towns and these landlords have their own share of irresponsible college students. Yet they still find it in their hearts to be accepting of our furry friends, and without charging extra for them.

Apartments in Marquette should take a page out of the book that surrounding cities are obviously reading. They should take the chance and allow pets. It’s not like they’re shy about charging extra after people have moved out for damages and renovations.

Even if they don’t feel like dealing with dog poop or cats running around and getting into everything, there are other animals that could be allowed. Hamsters, for example, are small, easy to take care of, and rarely ruin the carpets. Yet, many of my friends have gotten in trouble or evicted over their small companions.

I’m not trying to bully these landlords into doing this without getting anything in return. In fact, their entire customer base could be expanded by as much as 100 or more people. That’s just counting my personal friends that wish they could find a place within their budget that would allow them a pet. Instead of trying gimmicks to fill apartments, landlords will have a waiting list of people begging to be let in. At least, that’s how it is with my own landlord.

Being one of a select few to allow pets has financial advantages, too. While many students are on a strict budget, I would guess that more than a few would be more willing to pay a one-time deposit or even an extra $20 per month for their pets.

Local landlords underestimate the power of allowing pets. Personally speaking, my cats make my life so much easier to handle. They are my companions and a form of entertainment.

Even though they create a few extra chores, they also relieve the stress of living alone. Pets have a huge emotional impact and, for those whose family and best friends are back at home, they create companionship.

These are all things that many would and do pay money to have. Many will even accept below-standard living conditions if it means that they are allowed to have a pet.

In short, there are many opportunities that local landlords are missing out on by not allowing pets in their residencies.

Other cities in similar situations as Marquette obviously don’t have a problem with it.