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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is it impossible? Are there any secrets or tricks? I always ask, "Are small, caged animals okay?", and then the landlord asks, "What are they?", to which I must admit, "Rats". And always, I get shut down...and usually laughed at. Sneaking them in doesn't sound great--if the landlord found out and kicked us out, we'd be pretty SOL.

How does one go about finding an apartment that doesn't turn rats away at the door? How hard of a time did you have finding a place? Thank you so much to anyone who has any tips.
 

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Where I am, you're not allowed to be turned down for having animals. And you're not allowed to be kicked out for having them.
Maybe that's how it is where you live, and you just don't know it. Most people have no idea they can't be denied because of their pets, here.
 

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Instead of asking about small animals, try just generalizing it to "pets"? If they say that pets are allowed, then you can't be rejected for what you have. ^^
 

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I mean, technically, do they really need to know what the "small caged animal" is? Try telling someone it's a rabbit and see what response you get and if it's different then they're just being biased and that's a big nono because that's discrimination (for a really dumb reason at that). Unless they have something specifically stating "no rats" but they do accept small animals then they can't legally decline you. Honestly, I had all kinds of pets in an absolutely no pets permitted apartment and never had anything bad happen....but I'm not saying you should do that lol
 

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I didn't even ask our apt manager about rats.. lol.

Dogs and cats in general are allowed, nothing stating yay or nay about caged animals. Nothing bad has come from it.
 

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I just say small caged rodents, but here it's illiegal to discriminate based on pets.
 

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My strata allows for cats/dogs but no caged animals (I recently asked because I was adopting my 2 rats). Makes absolutely no sense to me, a caged animal is less mess/hassle than a cat or dog. And it's WELL below the 20lb rule that they have for animals. It annoys me how often here in Vancouver people say no pets. Just apply the pet deposit and you're golden, anyone that's responsible won't mind paying a deposit for their pet (imo anyway).
 

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That really stinks.. I guess I would just look up local housing laws? Where are you located? Just ask if they have "any pet restrictions to know for the possible future" which kind of implies you don't have pets now but are thinking about getting some in the future. And ask to see their pet policy. Tell them you're thinking of getting a cat or a dog or whatever. How will they know what you're thinking or if you changed your mind about getting one? Anyway, they should tell you what their pet policy is when you ask, and you will also be able to see it in writing on the lease. As long as they don't explicitly say "no caged animals" or "cats or dogs only" (usually cats and dogs have a deposit, but none of the 3 apartments I've been in cared at all about little animals. Fish tanks only had to be 10 gal or smaller is all). If it for some reason says one of those things, you can ask them to clarify. Maybe if they ask you outright, say you have hamsters or a guinea pig so it sounds "cuter" and more acceptable. If there's a dispute at all later, you can say the other animals passed away and you got rats instead. Unless they said "NO RATS" there really shouldn't be anything legally they can do about it if they find out you lied about your fake hamster.

That's ridiculous, I hope you're abe to find housing soon that accepts you and your babies!
 

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I agree with Finnebon on this one.. I'd call a bunch of apartments whose websites say they allow pets.. Ask them what their pet policy is and that you're thinking about getting a small pet. I would also ask to see it IN WRITING. Tell them you're thinking about getting something and see. If they tell you then that they don't allow, say, mice or rats, ask "why?" out of curiosity. It could be that the apartment you spoke about had a tennant with rats who let them out, they started breeding and infested the apartment.. Stranger things have happened.

I would get the pet policy in writing beforehand and check the lease to see if specifics are written there as well. I would not straight up lie about your rats.. Apts do health inspections and spray for pests, etc. so they would find out eventually and then you'd be up a creek with no paddle. Rats are also hard to hide due to the noise, odor, and cage size.
 

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I would first ask about the pet policy and mention "small animals" in general. If the lease doesnt say anything about rats in specific, and they say small caged pets are okay, then you should be good.

I asked my leasing agent about small caged pets and he said "well the lease just says cats and dogs so small pets are fine". My maintenance guy knows about the rats and doesnt mind.

If the landlord is adamant about "no rats" but is ok with hamsters, guineas, birds, I would explain they are fancy pet rats that are trained and use a litter box. Maybe let them meet a rat if they're willing.
 

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Our rats completely ruined the carpet in one room of our apartment when they were younger and could squeeze out of the cage, so I can see how a landlord might be more resistant to rats than other small pets (a hamster wouldn't rip up the carpet or pee on every square inch of it, right?). We got lucky in that rats aren't forbidden in our complex, but they might change their minds when they see the carpet when we move out :( Not that a dog or cat isn't equally capable of ruining a carpet...
 

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I own my house now, but I have lived in about 8 apartments/condos... and I have owned rats in all of them. I never mention the small animals... only my dog and cat. They have never complained. They come in do check's and see them and nothing has ever come of it.

One apartment I looked at, well the very first one I I looked at, I asked about "small animals" they said hamsters... ect okay but no rats. Later I found out one of my rat friends had rats in the same compelx. She just brought them in... same situation, landlord saw them but never complained.

One other apartment wanted a full pet deposit so like $300 for them to live there.
 

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Those of u in Canada are lucky, but for us in the US housing can totally deny pets & evict u/make u get rid of your pets here. :(

It is also not discrimination to deny a specific type of animal. It is their building they can allow whatever pets they want or deny any kind they want to. Tons of apartments allow cats but deny dogs, or have size/breed restrictions. It can be very difficult to rent with ferrets or rabbits because they fear destruction.

Honestly when I lived in apartments I just didn't tell my landlord but I luckily lived in a place where the landlord was very hands off & would have never noticed in a million years. I really don't suggest lying because it will be tragic if u do get caught and you just never know.

I have seen alot of people get by with asking oh can I have small caged pets like hamsters or something. usually they will say yes. People are more ok with the idea of a hamster then a rat. Though it is best to get it in writing if you can. Also just talk with them let them know u will pay a deposit and (lie) telling them that they stay in their cage. They won't know the difference there.
 

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Offering a pet deposit is a great idea. But do keep in mind that rats can be very destructive and as they can chew wires so they can become a legitimate fire hazard for the whole building.

Now, to be fair, depending on how you care for your rats and how animal proof the apartment is, rats might not be a big deal, in fact dogs and cats can be plenty destructive too.

Honestly, if I rented an apartment to someone with rats, I'd likely charge a substantial pet deposit. Or at least I'd have a no pets clause in the lease... and perhaps not notice the rats if they don't become a problem. I have friends who are landlords that have done both. One charges a huge pet deposit for dogs and so far hasn't had to return even one cent. He repaints and re-carpets between tenants and has tile floors underneath. Still sometimes he has to replace damaged cabinets and doors, even when his apartments are animal resistant. The amount he charges plus the additional rent per pet covers his pet damage costs and as one of the few landlords that allows animals he has a waiting list. I know another landlord that doesn't see well behaved pets when he inspects certain clean and well maintained apartments. His leases have a no pets clause so he can get rid of pets and tenants that have bothersome or damaging animals. He finds that a "no pets" clause helps animal owners keep their animals under better control.

To be honest... I suppose I'd require a substantial pet deposit and renter's insurance that covers rat damage too. I've had two rats that chewed wires and as I'm typing Misty is under the sink chewing something, I'll most likely have to fix sooner or later. I yelled and she stopped for now... still she's a rat and there's going to be a hole in something sooner or later.

When I lived in apartments, I'd rehabilitate them myself before I moved out, I'd plaster and paint the walls and even replace damaged carpet and shampoo the rest. I once even had to re-tile the kitchen floor. I had animals and they damaged the place, but I'd fix it all and get my deposit back. But lots of tenants don't do that and it can cost thousands of dollars to clean up a pet mess and most landlords have had that experience and aren't likely to make the same mistake twice.

Rats really aren't like hamsters or turtles... and they can be very destructive. To be honest... my insurance company asked if we had dogs, I said no, as we don't, but I didn't bring up rats as they didn't ask... but some day insurance companies are going to get wise and might not even insure buildings with pet rats as rats become more common pets like some charge more for dogs or don't insure building with dogs.... I'm afraid, as rats become more popular there are going to be more restrictions regarding them.

Best luck.
 

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I always say small caged animals. If they ask what I'll say without taking a breath in between words "rats but they're very well trained, even come to their names and are always supervised when they are out of their cage" . I find this at minimum shows you are least a responsible pet owner and not just letting the rats run loose throughout the house. I haven't really had a problem finding house when I say that. I mean to some extent it may be an exaggeration I mean I generally know what my rats are doing when they're not caged but I don't quite stare them down as much as I may let on. really I think it's about your wording. just saying rats makes people think of the plague. implying you've somehow trained them makes them become more pet-like and again your implying responsibility on your behalf.
 

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When we lived in an apartment, they allowed pets, but charged large fees for cats / dogs. "caged pets" were ok as long as you told them what you had. I told them about my geckos, but forgot to mention my first snake... I told them about my guinea pigs, but when I developed a hay allergy and had to rehome them (and replaced them with rats)... I didn't make it around to the office. Still, we never had any issues. My caged pets also never caused damage. When I would let the rats free-range, I'd only let them do so in the bathroom, which was escape proof and had hard floors and nothing for them to chew.
 

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My landlord thought they were mice or gerbils, which she was fine with. She was shocked when I said they were actually rats because "They're so cute! they can't be rats! Rats are gross!" That is a direct quote, by the way.
 

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Our rats completely ruined the carpet in one room of our apartment when they were younger and could squeeze out of the cage, so I can see how a landlord might be more resistant to rats than other small pets (a hamster wouldn't rip up the carpet or pee on every square inch of it, right?). We got lucky in that rats aren't forbidden in our complex, but they might change their minds when they see the carpet when we move out :( Not that a dog or cat isn't equally capable of ruining a carpet...
I believe it, as my two girls have ruined several places in our apartment carpet. Fortunately for us, we've lived here for six years and Management will replace carpets after that long if desired. However, after discovering how destructive our rats have been with it, we won't take them up on that offer. So when we do eventually move out, they won't be upset about the carpet as it's going to be replaced anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the advice everyone! We're looking at an apartment later today that so far has only told us "$25 extra per month for pets." I think what I'll do is read the lease very carefully and possibly ask what if we want to get some caged pets later, is that okay? But I will probably not mention the rats specifically.

Hopefully it all works out!
 
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