Chicago apartments are going to the dogs if their owners can afford the fees
Loop North News

The Home Front

(Above) A downtown dog investigates the life-size bronze sculpture at AMA Plaza. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

Chicago animal lovers who are apartment hunting this spring should be aware that pet policies are costly and filled with restrictions, especially in luxury high-rises.

9-Mar-19 – At Presidential Towers, a complex of four high-rises at 555 West Madison Street 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. Also, 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 one-bedroom unit, and $2,520 for a two-bedroom layout.

Image obtained from Don DeBat

Presidential Towers’ 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 if they are outfitted with a litter box.

A maximum of two pets are allowed per apartment. However, 21 dog breeds – including Doberman Pinscher, German Shepard, Old English Sheep Dog, Pit Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, and Saint Bernard – 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,” reads the 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.

Pets not welcome if they flunk the weigh-in

At Eugenie Terrace on the Park, a 44-story high-rise at 1730 North Clark Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, the Pet Policy calls for a dog weigh-in. Dogs, maximum two per apartment, must not exceed a 100-pound weight limit.

Like Presidential Towers, breed restrictions apply at Eugenie Terrace.

None of the breeds mentioned above are permitted, along with Alaskan Malamute, Great Dane, Siberian Husky, “Wolf hybrids,” and any mixtures of these breeds.

Photo by Steven Dahlman

The non-refundable pet move-in fee at Eugenie Terrace is $500 plus $25 extra rent per month for dogs. Cats, a maximum of two, also must not be over the 100-pound weight limit. Felines are not charged monthly pet rent. Base rents at Eugenie Terrace start at $1,755 for a studio, $2,441 for one-bedroom units, and $3,430 for two-bedroom layouts.

Animal lovers at Presidential Towers 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 housebroken. All other animals must always be caged.

• 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 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.

Image obtained from Don DeBat

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 Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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, federal guidelines state 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.

By Don DeBat | Loop North News | debatnet@aol.com

Published 9-Mar-19 3:12 PM

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