New legislation could eliminate barriers, monthly rent for Ohio pet owners

OHIO — New legislation is being proposed that would increase access to affordable housing and eliminate barriers for pet owners in Ohio.

Ohio House Bill 277, or the Pet Friendly Rental Act, aims to change the requirement to pay monthly pet rent fees, our news partners at WCPO-9 TV reported.

Adam Mark lives with his dog Penny in a downtown Cincinnati apartment.

He pays for his rent, but he also pays a monthly fee for Penny.

“I pay $25 per month, but there is also a deposit when you first move in for having a pet,” Mark said.

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Owning a pet can make it more difficult for those searching for affordable housing.

“I feel like especially having like a larger dog, it’s hard to find apartments that take them,” dog owner Jasmine Watters said. “And then you also usually have to pay like another deposit fee sometimes and then the rent on top of that too, which definitely adds up.”

If passed, the Pet Friendly Rental Act would provide a tax credit to landlords who choose to allow cats or dogs in their rental units.

Landlords who receive the tax credit will not be able to restrict pets by breed or size or charge nonrefundable fees or additional pet rent fees.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Mark said. “This is one less thing that you have to spend money on, that you could spend more on your dog or anything else.”

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Watters said she is also in support of the bill, saying she never quite understood the purpose of pet fees in the first place.

“I feel like they don’t do any more damage than like a kid or anything,” she said. “So I don’t think she’s costing the apartment any more money to have her there.”

A spokesperson for the Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association provided a statement explaining what the purpose of pet rent was.

The statement said in part: “Fees are charged to cover pet-related damages, to offset wear and tear caused by pets, and to hire professional cleaning services to remove animal hair and stains.”

The spokesperson said the association has not yet taken a position on the bill. The Pet Friendly Rental Act heads to the house floor for a vote.

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