Renters with pets - and the Eugene landlords who won't allow them

    From small to large, pets and owners filled Jack B Lively Memorial Park Saturday for a day filled with pet education. The 2016 PetFest brought animal lovers together for a seventh year. (SBG photo)

    EUGENE, Ore. - People in the rental industry say that the number of people owning pets is growing. However, they say the number of rentals allowing pets is not growing at the same rate.

    Born and raised in Eugene, Kelly Barela returned to town after living in New Mexico with a new companion, her dog Dharma.

    Because she had a dog, Barela struggled to find affordable housing

    "It seemed to double the deposit they were asking for, and more often than not there was pet rent,” said Barela.

    For six months, Barela searched for housing while working two jobs

    Tia Politti, President of the Lane Rental Owners Association says while they don't keep data, she's noticed a big gap in the number of applicants with animals and the number of rentals allowing them.

    “Probably about half of rental owners are willing to consider a pet,” said Politti. “Fully 80-85 percent of applicants will have at least one animal in their household.”

    That's including service and companion animals, but Politti believes a number of people are sneaking pets into rentals.

    But why aren't owners allowing pets? It's often fear of damage.

    Edene Fichman owns a private property management company in Eugene. She says when it comes to deciding whether pets are accepted, it's up to the property owner, not the manager. But she encourages them to consider allowing furry friends.

    "When you allow pets, you have a much larger pool of potential tenants to draw from,” said Fichman.

    She believes the horror stories of pets causing damage beyond what the deposit covers are few and far between.

    "Pet owners are great tenants,” said Fichman. “You may have someone with no pets, that doesn't mean they're going to be a better tenant.”

    Barela was finally able to get keys to a place after finding a roommates willing to accept dogs, but says if she had to do it all over again she would never part with her beloved dog

    Politti believes that property owners are leaning towards hard flooring, opening their minds to allowing pets.

    And Fichman says it's always worth a shot to try to change an owner's mind about their pet policy.

    One concern for property owners is that they must have insurance as they are responsible for any injury or damage caused by pets living at their properties.

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