The Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 (Housing Reform Act of 1998) added Section 31, Pet Ownership in Public Housing, to the United States Housing Act of 1937. Section 31 establishes pet ownership requirements for residents of public housing other than public housing developments for the elderly or persons with disabilities.
This Pet Policy (Policy) establishes the rules and conditions under which a pet may be kept in the Mount Hope Housing Authority (hereinafter referred to as PHA) developments in order to provide a safe, decent, and sanitary living environment for existing residents, PHA employees, and the public, and to preserve the physical condition of the PHA property.
A. Reasonable Accommodations
Assistance/service animals are animals that assist, support or provide service to persons with disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Fair Housing Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). This Pet Ownership Policy does not apply to assistance/service animals. Owners of assistance/service animals must comply with the Assistance Animal Policy.
B. Changes in Laws and Regulations
In the event, an applicable law or regulation is modified or eliminated, or a new law or regulation is adopted, the revised law or regulation shall, to the extent inconsistent with this Policy, automatically supersede this Policy.
The PHA will revise this Policy periodically as approved by the PHA Board of Commissioners
PET OWNERSHIP RULES
A. PHA Approval of Pets
All pets must be registered and approved by the PHA prior to the pet being brought onto PHA property. The pet owner must update the pet's registration with the PHA annually. The pet registration must include:
- A certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian or a State or local authority stating that the pet has received all inoculations required by applicable State and local law;
- A photograph of the pet (to identify the pet as a common household pet), and;
- The name, address, and phone number of one or more responsible persons who will care for the pet if the owner dies, is away from the unit for more than twenty-four (24) hours, is incapacitated, or is otherwise unable to care for the pet.
Pets of visiting guests are prohibited from PHA property, with the exception of an assistance animal to assist a visitor with disabilities.
The PHA may refuse to register a pet if:
- The pet is not a common household pet;
- Keeping of the pet would violate applicable PHA Pet Rules;
- The pet owner fails to provide complete pet registration information or fails to update the pet registration annually, or;
- The PHA reasonably determines, based on the pet owner's habits and practices, that he/she will be unable to keep the pet in compliance with the PHA Pet Rules and other Dwelling Lease Obligations. The PHA may consider the pet's temperament as a factor in this determination.
If the PHA refuses to register a pet, the PHA will notify the pet owner, stating the PHA's basis for the refusal, by sending a letter by first-class mail or by serving a copy of the notice to any adult answering the door at the tenant's leased dwelling unit. If no adult responds, the PHA will place the notice under or through the door, if possible, or will attach it to the door.
B. Common Household Pets
All residents are permitted to own common domesticated household pets, such as a dog, cat, bird, rodent (including a rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, or gerbil), fish in aquariums, and small turtles kept in a terrarium.
C. Prohibited Pets
The following are NOT common household pets and are prohibited from pet ownership on PHA property: Reptiles of any kind, animals whose climatological needs cannot be met in the unaltered environment of the individual dwelling unit, ferrets, rats, mice, wild animals, feral animals, any other animals that are unamenable to routine human handling, species commonly used on farms, birds of prey, dangerous fish, snakes, spiders, insects, any poisonous animals of any kind, non-human primates, pot-bellied pigs, exotic animals, animals identified in State or local law or ordinance as dangerous or vicious, and any other animal prohibited by State or local law to be kept as a pet by any resident.
D. Number and Size of Pets
Each household shall have only one pet.
The pet owner shall be permitted to have a small cat or dog. The animal's weight shall not exceed twenty-five (25) pounds at full growth. The animal's shoulder height shall not exceed fifteen (15) inches at full growth. Such limitations do not apply to an assistance animal used to provide assistance, support, perform tasks, or provide service for persons with disabilities.
Pet owners shall license their pets, as required by State or local law, and shall show proof of licensing to the PHA annually.
F. Identification of the Pet
If the pet is a dog or cat, the PHA shall furnish the pet owner with a pet sticker which must be displayed on the front window nearest the entrance door of the dwelling unit.
The pet owner shall provide the PHA with a color photograph of the pet(s) at the initial registration of the pet and at each annual reexamination.
All dogs and cats shall wear a collar at all times. Attached to the collar shall be an ID tag listing the pet owner's name and address.
G. Pet Deposit
Each family who is a pet owner of a dog or cat shall pay a refundable pet deposit of $150.00. Each family who is a pet owner of a caged animal, bird, or fish shall pay a refundable pet deposit of $50.00.
The refundable deposit will be used, if appropriate, to repair damages directly attributable to the presence of the pet. Such expenses would include, but not be limited to, the cost of repairs and replacement to the dwelling unit, fumigation of the dwelling unit, and the cost of animal care facilities. The PHA will return the unused portion of a pet deposit to the pet owner within a reasonable time after the pet owner moves from the property or no longer owns or keeps a household pet in the unit.
The pet deposit is not part of the rent payable by the pet owner and is in addition to any other financial obligation generally imposed on residents of the development where the pet owner lives. If the cost of the repairs exceeds the pet deposit, the pet owner will be responsible for paying the balance to the PHA.
Should State or local law require the pet deposit to be placed in an interest-bearing account, the PHA will provide for such deposit and will account for all interest to the pet owner's family. Should State or local law not specifically address the issue of pet deposit interest, the PHA shall determine payment or non-payment of interest based on State or local law with respect to rental security deposit requirements.
H. Non-Refundable Pet Fee
Pet owners will be charged a non-refundable pet fee of $50.00 for dogs/cats.
I. Financial Responsibility for the Pet
The resident agrees to assume all personal financial responsibility for damages to any personal or PHA property caused by the pet and assumes personal responsibility for personal injury to any party caused by the pet.
J. Housing and Control of the Pets
The pet owner shall house the pet inside the pet owner's dwelling unit. The pet owner shall keep a cat or a dog on a leash and shall control the animal when outside of the dwelling unit for any purpose. No pet owner shall allow his or her pet to be unleashed or run-at-large when outside the pet owner's dwelling unit. Bird(s) shall be confined to a cage at all times and not be allowed to fly in the dwelling unit.
No pet shall be tethered or chained outside or inside the dwelling unit.
No pet shall be permitted in any common area, including lobbies, community rooms, or laundry areas, except as necessary to directly enter and exit the building. This restriction is not applicable to assistance animals.
No pet (other than birds, turtles, or fish) shall be permitted to remain in the dwelling unit overnight while the resident is away.
No pet owner shall keep a pet in violation of State or local health or humane laws or ordinances. Any failure of these pet ownership rules to contain other applicable State or local laws or ordinances does not relieve the pet owner of the responsibility for complying with such requirements.
All residents are prohibited from feeding, housing, or caring for stray/wild animals. Such action shall constitute having a pet without permission of the PHA and may result in the termination of the lease.
K. Pets Temporarily on the Premises
Residents may keep a pet "temporarily" if:
- The pet is registered and approved in advance by the PHA;
- The pet meets the definition of a "common pet";
- The pet meets the common pet number and size restrictions;
- The pet is licensed and is up-to-date on its inoculations; and
- The pet is kept in the resident's dwelling unit for a period of less than 14 consecutive dates and nights.
If the resident violates the temporary pet provision, the action shall constitute having a pet without permission of the PHA and may result in the termination of the lease.
L. Feeding of the Pet
All pets shall be fed inside the dwelling unit. The pet owner is prohibited from feeding the pet on the porch, sidewalk, patio, or any area outside the dwelling unit.
M. Hygiene and Health of the Pet
Pet owners are required to take their pet to a licensed veterinarian at least once per year and provide verification to the PHA.
Pets are required to have the proper inoculations as required by State and local law. The pet owner must show the PHA proof of rabies and distemper booster inoculations annually at reexamination.
The pet owner shall take the precautions and measures necessary to eliminate pet odors within and around the dwelling unit and shall maintain the dwelling unit in a sanitary condition at all times.
Pet owners are required to take whatever action necessary to ensure their pet does not bring fleas or ticks into the dwelling unit. This action may include but is not limited to, the use of flea collars and flea powder. The pet owner is responsible for the cost of flea and/or tick extermination.
If the pet's health is threatened because of the owner's inability to care for it due to illness, absence from the unit, or mistreatment of the pet, the PHA will notify the alternative custodian for the pet listed in the Pet Policy Addendum. If the pet owner is either unwilling or unable to care for the pet or if the PHA is unable to contact the alternative custodian for the pet, the PHA will notify State or local authorities and/or local animal control.
The pet owner shall be responsible for arranging for the burial or other disposal, off PHA property, of pets in the event of their death.
N. Disposal of Pet Waste
Pet owners are required to exercise and allow pets to deposit waste only in designated areas. Pet owners are prohibited from walking pets or allowing pets to deposit waste in areas outside designated exercise and waste deposit areas. Pet owners are required to take pets elsewhere to exercise or deposit waste if there are no areas on PHA property designated for such purposes.
Pet owners of a dog or cat shall obtain some type of "scooper" to clean up after the pet outdoors. The pet owner is responsible for placing all waste in sealed plastic bags and disposing of such waste in a trash container.
Dog pet owners are required to immediately remove the animal's waste. The pet owner shall not permit dog waste to accumulate, becoming unsanitary or unsightly, and shall place such waste in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in a designated trash container outside the building where the pet owner lives.
Cat pet owners are required to provide a litter box, which must be stored inside the dwelling unit and cleaned at least every two (2) days. The pet owner shall not permit refuse from the litter box to accumulate, becoming unsanitary or unsightly, and shall place refuse of the litter box in a sealed plastic bag and dispose of it in a designated trash container outside the building where the pet owner lives. The pet owner shall not flush the contents of the litter box down the dwelling unit toilets.
O. Breeding of the Pet
Pet owners of a dog or cat shall have the animal spayed or neutered and shall pay the cost thereof. A veterinarian shall verify that the spaying or neutering has been accomplished.
No resident shall keep, raise, train, breed, or maintain any pet of any kind at any PHA property, including inside or outside the dwelling unit, for any commercial or illegal purpose.
No pet owner shall permit the pet to disturb, interfere, or diminish the peaceful enjoyment of his/her neighbors or other residents. The terms "disturb, interfere, or diminish" shall include, but not be limited to, barking, howling, biting, scratching, chirping, running-at-large, and other activities of a disturbing nature.
The PHA is prohibited from requiring the pet owner to have any pet's vocal chords removed.
Pet owners shall not allow any pet to dig, destroy, or damage any shrubbery, plants, flowers, grass, lawn, fence, or anything else on PHA property.
If the pet owner declines, delays, or refuses to remove the pet from PHA property after receiving a written notification, the PHA shall take such actions as deemed necessary to have the pet removed from PHA property (see paragraph U of this section).
Q. Threat to Health or Safety
The PHA at its discretion shall determine what behaviors are considered dangerous. No pet owner shall keep a vicious or intimidating pet on the premises. Any animal identified in or banned by State or local law or ordinance will be prohibited.
If the pet owner declines, delays, or refuses to remove the pet from PHA property, to safeguard the health and welfare of their residents, the PHA shall take such actions as deemed necessary to have the pet removed from PHA property (see paragraph U of this section).
Any pet that attacks, without provocation, any resident, guest, visitor, PHA staff member, PHA contractor, persons doing business with the PHA, any other person, or domestic animal shall be immediately removed from PHA property without prior written notice to the pet owner. Attack shall mean violent or aggressive physical contact with a person or domestic animal.
Any pet that behaves in a violent or aggressive manner, that poses an imminent threat of physical injury, confines the movement of, including but not limited to chasing, cornering, or encircling a person or domestic animal, shall be immediately removed from PHA property without prior written notice to the pet owner.
R. Alterations of the Dwelling Unit
The pet owner shall not alter the dwelling unit or surrounding PHA property to create a space, hole, container, or enclosure for any pet. The pet owner may not alter the patio or common areas to accommodate the pet. Installation of pet doors are prohibited.
S. Inspection, Maintenance, and Work Orders
Entry to the dwelling unit will be performed during reasonable hours, after proper notice has been given to the pet owner, except in an emergency situation.
The pet owner or a responsible family member must be present and available to secure the pet, remove the pet, or physically control the pet during times that PHA staff (including PHA maintenance staff) or agents of the PHA are in the unit performing annual inspections, requested or preventative maintenance inspections, routine work orders, housekeeping inspections, pest control, or other at other times identified in the dwelling lease.
Non-emergency work orders will be completed only if the pet owner or responsible family member is present and available to secure the pet, the pet has been caged, or the pet has been removed from the dwelling unit. The PHA will not be responsible for any pet which gets out of a dwelling unit when PHA maintenance staff enter the dwelling unit for the purpose of making repairs.
In emergency situations, entry will be made immediately. The PHA will provide a notice and the reason why the emergency entry was made. The PHA will not be responsible if the pet runs out of the dwelling unit, if left alone, when PHA maintenance staff enter the dwelling unit to complete emergency work.
T. Alternative Custodian for the Pet
Each pet owner shall identify an alternate custodian for the care of the pet. If the pet owner is ill, absent from the dwelling unit, unable to care for the pet, or has died, the alternate custodian shall assume responsibility for the care and keeping of the pet, including, if necessary, the removal of the pet from PHA property.
U. PHA Removal of the Pet
The pet owner agrees that the PHA or local animal control shall have the right to remove any pet should the pet become vicious, display symptoms or severe illness, or demonstrate other behavior that constitutes an immediate threat to the health or safety of the tenancy as a whole.
If the PHA requests that the pet owner remove the pet and the pet owner refuses to do so, or if the PHA is unable to contact the pet owner to make the request, the PHA may take such actions as deemed necessary, e.g., placing the pet in an animal care facility that will provide the pet with care and shelter at the expense of the pet owner for a period not to exceed thirty (30) days or notifying State or local authorities.
PHA staff shall enter a dwelling unit where a pet has been left untended for twenty-four (24) hours, remove the pet, and transfer it to the proper local authorities, subject to any provisions of State or local law or ordinances in this regard. The PHA shall accept no responsibility for the pet under such circumstances.
V. Conflict with State or Local Law
The Pet Ownership Rules adopted by the PHA shall not conflict with applicable State or local laws or regulations. If such conflict occurs, the State and local law or regulation shall rule.
PET VIOLATION PROCEDURES
The resident agrees to comply with all the Pet Ownership Rules and Pet Violation Procedures below:
A. Notice of Pet Rule Violation
If the PHA determines on the basis of objective facts, supported by written statements, that a pet owner has violated a rule governing the keeping of pets, the PHA will serve a written notice to the owner of pet rule violation. This will be accomplished by first-class mail or by serving a copy of the notice on any adult answering the door at the tenant's leased dwelling unit. If no adult responds, the PHA will place the notice under or through the door or attach the notice to the door.
The notice of pet rule violation will be in writing and will:
- Contain a brief statement of the factual basis for the determination and the pet rule or rules alleged to be violated;
- State that the pet owner has ten (10) days from the effective date the notice was served to correct the violation (including in appropriate circumstances, removal of the pet) or to make a written request for a meeting to discuss the violation;
- State that the pet owner is entitled to be accompanied by another person of his or her choice at the meeting; and
- State that the pet owner's failure to correct the violation, to request a meeting, or to appear at a requested meeting may result in initiation of procedures to have the pet removed, to terminate the pet owner's dwelling lease, or both.
B. Pet Rule Violation Meeting
If the pet owner makes a request, within ten (10) days of the notice of pet rule violation, for a meeting to discuss the alleged violation, the PHA will establish a mutually agreeable time and place for the meeting within fifteen (15) days from the effective date of service of the notice of pet rule violation.
At the pet rule violation meeting, the pet owner and PHA shall discuss any alleged pet rule violation and attempt to correct it. The PIHA, may as a result of the meeting, give the pet owner additional time to correct the violation.
C. Notice for Pet Removal
If the PHA determines that the pet owner has failed to correct the pet rule violation within the time permitted by paragraph B of this section (including any additional time permitted by the PHA), or if the parties are unable to resolve the problem, the PHA may serve a written notice to the pet owner requiring the pet owner to remove the pet. This will be accomplished by first-class mail, or by serving1 a copy of the notice on any adult answering the door at the tenant's leased dwelling unit. If no adult responds, the PHA will place the notice under or through the door or attach the notice to the door. The PHA may also serve the written notice at the meeting. The notice will be in writing and will:
- Contain a brief statement of the factual basis for the determination and the pet rule or rules that have been violated;
- State that the pet owner must remove the pet within ten (10) days of the effective date of the notice of pet removal (or the meeting, if notice is served at the meeting); and
- State that failure to remove the pet may result in the initiation of procedures to have the pet removed, to terminate the pet owner's dwelling lease, or both.
The procedures do not apply in cases where the pet in question presents an immediate threat to the health and safety of others or if the pet is being treated in an inhumane manner. In such cases, the provisions in paragraph U of the Pet Ownership Rules shall apply.
D. Lease Enforcement and Termination of Tenancy
Violations of the Pet Ownership Policy will be considered a violation of a material term of the dwelling lease. The PHA will take all appropriate lease enforcement actions up to and including termination of the pet owner's dwelling lease as a result of Pet Ownership Policy violations.
Grievance procedures that apply to other termination and eviction actions shall apply to violations of the Pet Ownership Policy.