An apartment complex that turns the usual rules on their head: a place where cats and dogs are obligatory. You have got to care for a pet before your can rent.
We’ve all read apartment horror stories where pet owners were faced the hard choice of finding a rental property that welcomes their animal companion or relinquishing their pet. This is a happy story, where we have a new heroine in the animal world. Her name is Judy Guth.
There’s one contract agreement tenants must follow before being allowed to rent one of her apartments – they must have a cat or dog. The rules are simple at Judy’s place. Up to two dogs of any size are allowed, and they have to be on a leash when outside the apartment. There’s also a limit of three cats. All animals must be spay/neutered, vaccinated and dogs must wear an up-to-date ID tag.
Judy, now 84 years young, purchased a 12-apartment complex, located on Cartwright Avenue in North Hollywood, for $260,000. That was 40 years ago. A few weeks ago she got an offer for $2 million. Right now Judy isn’t interested in selling. She, along with building manager Jerry Schiess, who has taken care of the property for 12 years, know they have a good thing going with their policy to only rent to pet owners.
People call Jerry on a daily basis in hopes of securing one of these prized apartments. Should the rare occasion arise when one is available, the pet is interviewed instead of the pet owner. Jerry and Judy must be sure the animal is well behaved, and dogs who reside there can’t be chronic barkers.
Judy has learned by experience that animal lovers make excellent renters. They pay their rent on time, they seldom change their place of residence, and are just better people any way you look at it. Several of her renters have lived at the Cartwright Avenue property for more than a decade, moving only when the economy forces them out of state for another job.
Judy has a very unique program set up, she does not demand a security deposit but instead requests an extra $100 a month rent for new carpeting. Usually the carpeting is paid for within a year, at which time it becomes the property of the tenant. Should the tenant move, the carpet is theirs to take. No one has ever done this, but the option is there.
Apartment rental cost ranges between $1,200 a month for one bedroom, to $1,500 a month for two bedrooms. The pet only policy went into effect shortly after she purchased the property, when she caught a school teacher trying to hide her cat because she was afraid having a pet meant being evicted.
You might wonder what would happen should a tenant become pet-less through the death of their companion. Judy has an answer for that also. If a pet dies, Judy is more than glad to take the owner to the animal shelter to pick out another.
Some have called Judy biased because of her pet policy. A spokesperson for the L.A. City Attorney’s Office says there is nothing in the law that prohibits someone from refusing to rent to people with or without pets. The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for a landlord to discriminate due to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, family status or disability. Pets don’t fall into any of those categories.
Judy, it’s a shame more apartment complex owners don’t follow your way of thinking. Renting to pet owners only was definitely before its time, and still is.