Renting a new apartment is a major commitment, but it’s important to take your time. You can’t just pack up your belongings and move into the first apartment you find. You need an apartment that suits your lifestyle.
When you’re about to sign a lease on a new apartment, there are certain questions you’ll need to ask the property owner, and other factors to take into consideration. For example, does the apartment you’re planning to rent allow pets?
If you already have pets, or intend to get a pet later on, the answer to this question is crucial.
Ask The Landlord About Reptiles
Sometimes, a lease agreement will simply state that pets are allowed, without directly specifying what kind of pets are allowed. Such agreements might only be catering to the most common denominator. This means they’re only considering the most popular pets, such as cats and dogs. Reptiles are a whole other story.
Are Reptiles Legal to Keep as Pets in Your Area?
In certain areas, it’s illegal to own domestic pet reptiles without a license, if at all. We recommend looking up the legal status of reptile ownership in your area before talking to your prospective landlord. Even in areas where keeping pet reptiles isn’t flat-out illegal, there might still be restrictions on the type of reptiles you can keep.
Reptiles come in many shapes and sizes, so the same policies usually don’t apply to all of them. In many areas, keeping a pet tortoise might be perfectly fine, but keeping a snake may still be prohibited. This is information that you should know before renting a new apartment.
Any legitimate landlord will refrain from even considering breaking the law. Therefore, even asking such questions could jeopardize your candidacy as a potential renter. That’s why it’s always best to do ample research before talking with your prospective landlord.
What Is a Pet Addendum?
Some landlords may include a ‘Pet Addendum’ in the lease agreement. A pet addendum is a pre-written agreement between you and your landlord that states all the pets you own at the time of signing the lease and the terms and conditions under which you are legally allowed to keep them at the apartment.
How To Negotiate a Lease with Pet Snakes
The truth of the matter is that there is still plenty of misinformation out there about pet snakes. Most people still see all snakes as venomous, cold-blooded predators with killer instincts. If the owner of the apartment you’re looking to rent has such preconceived notions, you’re probably going to have a hard time negotiating a lease that allows you to keep your pet snake with you.
Many pet snake owners have reported personal anecdotes about biased landlords who turned them down because they have a pet snake.
Here are a few tips about negotiating the terms of your new lease, so you get to keep your scaley friend.
You may be tempted to simply skip the difficult discussion altogether, and have your pet snake slither past your landlord completely unnoticed. Understandably, the idea of secretly keeping a pet snake in your apartment while your landlord is none the wiser might be enticing to some.
That said, we feel obligated to warn you that this is a terrible idea, and you should never try it, under any circumstances. If and when your landlord finds out you’re harboring an undisclosed exotic pet, not only could your relationship with your landlord be tarnished, but you could also face legal consequences.
Instead, be honest and upfront from the very first time you talk to your landlord. Let your landlord know that you want to move in with a pet snake, and ask them if they’re willing to negotiate the terms of a pet addendum so that there are no uncertainties about whether or not you’re allowed to keep your pet snake at the apartment.
Be Willing to Educate Your Landlord
Even if your prospective landlord doesn’t hate snakes, they may simply be misinformed about them. Rather than being argumentative, try to take a more positive approach and be willing to educate them.
Consider showing them educational material that supports the stance that snakes can make good apartment pets. You can even ask your prospective landlord if they would be willing to see your pet snake before you sign the lease, so you can show them firsthand that your snake is completely harmless.
The truth is, exotic pets such as snakes aren’t common, and most people have a negative perception of them simply because they’ve never gotten the opportunity to see what great animals they are in person.
In certain areas, you need a license or some kind of documentation to legally own a pet snake. If you already have such documentation, share copies of it with your landlord, so they know that your pet snake is legally owned, at the very least.
Even if you don’t own any such paperwork, you could get a letter of approval from a licensed veterinarian, verifying that your pet snake is under their care and that they can vouch that it poses no harm. This is just one extra step you can take to show your prospective landlord that you are indeed a responsible snake owner.
You May Need to Pay a Deposit
As an added insurance policy, some landlords ask tenants to pay an extra security deposit. This means that during your time at the apartment, if any unfortunate incidents involving your pet occur, then your right to that deposit will be forfeited and your landlord will get to keep it.
However, if your time at the apartment goes by without incident, you would be eligible to get that money back. Usually, this deposit is only used in the case of cats and dogs, but you can try to talk to your landlord and see if they’d want to apply it to your pet snake as well.
Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out
The harsh reality is, some landlords just won’t be willing to budge. You may think you’ve found the perfect apartment to rent, and it’s in a nice neighborhood, close to where you work, it looks amazing, and it isn’t even that expensive.
But there’s just one caveat, the landlord simply will not compromise on their ‘no snakes’ policy. Sometimes, you just have to know when to walk away. That might be hard to accept, but in the long run, you’ll be much better off spending your precious time looking for options more suitable for you, and your pet snake. In the end, when you’ve finally found an apartment where your pet snake is accepted and welcome, you won’t regret walking away.
What To Know Before Keeping a Snake in Your Apartment
If you’re already living in an apartment and intend to get a pet snake, there are a few key factors you should keep in mind.
Get Your Landlord’s Approval First
All the rules we previously mentioned apply here, too. Don’t try to sneak a snake past your landlord, be open to having a reasonable discussion first, and use all the tools that we gave you. A pet snake is not worth the risk of getting evicted from your apartment.
The Size of The Snake
Not all snake breeds are suitable for apartment living. Some breeds of snake can grow very large, and may eventually need a lot more space than you can provide. Don’t even try to get a baby python now, and think you’ll make more space for it when the time comes.
Instead, look for breeds that are more suitable for keeping in an apartment, such as a corn snake. Or a Mexican milk snake. You may even find that these snakes have calmer dispositions, and are better for beginners.
What Does Your Snake Eat?
Snakes have different dietary needs depending on the species. For example, some breeds eat frozen mice. You may need to get a separate freezer just to store frozen mice for your pet snake. If your apartment doesn’t have the space for a freezer, consider getting a breed of snake that eats crickets and other bugs, as such snake food is considerably easier to store in an apartment.
Do You Have Other Pets?
Do you already own other pets, such as cats, birds, or dogs? In an apartment, it might be difficult to provide more than one species of animal with the amount of space that they require to live a comfortable and happy life.
Of course, you want to avoid one animal potentially harming the other. Before getting a snake, make sure you have enough space so that you can keep your pets separate from each other.
Now That You Know
Hopefully, this article provided some valuable insight into keeping a pet snake in your apartment. To conclude, be willing to have an open and honest conversation with your landlord, and be patient—in the end, you’ll find the perfect home for you and your scaly friend.
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