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Many apartments in Grand Forks closed to animals or come with extra costs

Finding an apartment can be challenging, but for those who have a dog or cat in tow the task can be nearly impossible, according to Grand Forks renters.

Patrick Bailey and Lou playing soccer
Patrick Bailey and Lou both love to play soccer, seen here as Bailey kicks the ball around for Lou to chase in front of his parents' home in East Grand Forks. photo by Jenna Watson/Grand Forks Herald

Finding an apartment can be challenging, but for those who have a dog or cat in tow the task can be nearly impossible, according to Grand Forks renters.

Patrick Bailey, 23, has been renting in the city for four years while studying history and political science at UND.

He said he preferred to live near campus or his downtown job, but his permanent roommate, Lou, has made finding a home tricky in the past. Lou is a 5-year-old Australian shepherd and black lab mix.

"It's difficult to find places that do allow dogs," Bailey said.

Places that do often have a weight restriction. At about 80 pounds, Lou is double or even triple those limits.


Bailey thought he lucked out when he found a place with a 60-pound limit.

"I figured you couldn't see the extra 15 pounds on him," he said. "But they weighed my dog."

Rules and limits

While some properties do allow pets, not everyone's furry companion may make the cut.

Becky Redshaw, a property manager for Century Properties in East Grand Forks, said some buildings are pet-friendly but only to dogs and cats less than 20 pounds when fully grown. No pets are allowed in the company's Grand Forks properties.

The pets aren't weighed in the property office, but rather pet owners are required to provide documentation from a veterinarian that their pet is below the weight limit.

The owners also are required to sign a special pet lease that gives the property owners the right to ask that an animal be removed if its owner does not comply with rules stipulated in the lease, Redshaw said.

Goldmark Properties, which manages many area apartments, has similar rules and limits. According to company staff, its properties have more units that allow cats than dogs. Dog weighing more than 30 pounds are not eligible to live in the dog-friendly units.


Extra fees

Having a pet-friendly apartment is a convenience that can become expensive for pet owners.

In a tip sheet, the Humane Society of the United States suggests pet owners should be ready to pay extra for having a pet in a rental.

The suggestion holds true in Grand Forks.

Century Properties charges a refundable $200 pet deposit and adds a $25 charge onto rent for pets. The fees help recoup damage costs pets may rack up during their stays.

Most of the problems come from pets that are let off of leashes or animals not going to the bathroom in designated pet areas -- or outside at all.

Redshaw said the company has had to replace carpets in some units because of animals that had too many accidents.

"It's made the owners think about not allowing pets in the buildings," she said.


Goldmark staff said cat owners pay a nonrefundable $200 pet fee and an extra $20 to have their feline in their home. The cost for a dog is a little steeper at $300 and $30 a month.


Before searching for pet-friendly apartments, the Humane Society says animal owners should do their homework.

The agency advises renters to start looking for homes at least six weeks before a planned move. A letter of reference from past landlords or property managers vouching for the pet's good behavior also could be helpful in a pet-friendly apartment search.

Despite the obstacles, Bailey and Lou secured a pet-friendly place to live.

The pair resided in an apartment 2 ½ miles from campus for the past three years. Last week, Bailey made the decision to move after a few crime incidents in his neighborhood made him uneasy about staying there.

He now lives in East Grand Forks with his parents -- a guaranteed pet-friendly home for Lou. It's not the ideal situation, as Bailey would prefer to live closer to work and school.

But with a December graduation date looming, finding another pet-friendly place may be more trouble than it's worth, Bailey said.


"It's just too bad nobody likes pets," he said.

Call Jewett at (701) 780-1108; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1108; or send email to bjewett@gfherald.com .

Patrick Bailey sits with his 5-year-old dog Lou
Patrick Bailey sits with his 5-year-old dog Lou during a break from moving back into his parents' home in East Grand Forks. Bailey had a difficult time finding a reasonably priced apartment where Lou would be able to stay as well, and even once he did, he wasn't comfortale with the living conditions and the surrounding area. With only one more semester of undergraduate education left, Bailey will be staying with his parents, preparing once again for the difficult task of finding a place fit for him and L...

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