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Pet Policy - Elderly and Disabled Households

Pet Policy and Rules

This Pet Policy and Rules addendum amends the current lease for housing developments occupied by elderly/disabled residents managed by the Van Buren Housing Authority (the Authority).

Section 1: Enabling Regulations

"Section 227 of the Housing and Urban-Renewal Recovery Act of 1983 provides that no owner or manager of federally assisted rental housing for the elderly may prohibit or prevent a resident from owning or having a common household pet, (as defined in Section 3 Below), living in the resident's dwelling unit."

To this end, the Housing Authority of the City of Van Buren has adopted in this policy "reasonable pet rules" that incorporate State and local laws governing pets that include inoculating, licensing, and restraining them. These laws provide sufficient flexibility to protect the right and privileges of other residents who choose not to own pets.

In the event of an emergency or building evacuation, it is the responsibility of the pet owner to remove his/her pet.

Section 2: Regulation Requirements Prior to Admission

Before the Authority grants a resident permission to keep a pet in any of its developments, any and all pets must be registered with Authority management. Such registration must show the following:

  • Type of pet
  • A recent picture of the pet
  • The pets name, age and weight
  • A copy of its City Tag (for Dogs Only)
  • A copy of its Rabies Tag
  • Its current inoculation information
  • A signed Pet Responsibility Form as described in Section 4 below.

Residents will be refused pet registration if management determines that the resident is unable to fulfill their obligations as a pet owner, are unable to adhere to the terms of the lease or to these rules, if the animal does not meet the definition of a common household pet, or if the temperament of the animal is generally considered dangerous.

If the pet owner is incapacitated or is no longer available to care for the pet, the person(s) designated on the registration Pet Responsibility Card form must remove the pet.  In absence of the designated person's availability, management will place the pet with the local Humane Society at the pet owner's expense.

Section 3:  Types of Pets and Number Per Unit

A common household pet is defined as a cat, dog, goldfish, tropical fish, canary, parakeet or lovebird.

(a)    The types of pets allowed shall be limited as follows:

  • Dogs - No less than six (6) months old, no more than 14'' tall at the shoulder or weigh over 25 pounds when it is full grown. (Section 6 below)
  • Cats - domestic house cats only, no less than six (6) months old, no more than 8" tall at the shoulders or weigh over 15 pounds. (Section 7 below)
  • Birds - caged birds in a cage no larger than 3 ft. tall and 2 ft. wide.
  • Fish - 5 gallon or less aquarium or 1 gallon bowl.

(b)   Tenant agrees to keep no more than ONE pet per household:

One dog or one cat.

One bird cage with no more than two (2) birds.

One 5 gallon aquarium or one 1 gallon bowl.

Section 4: Pet Responsibility Form

As a prerequisite to Authority permission for pet admission, the owner must fill in and sign a written responsibility form showing the name, address, and phone number of three (3) local persons who will come and get the pet in the event of resident's illness, vacation or death.  The responsibility form must be renewed each year at the time when the pets current inoculations are due.  Persons so named will be responsible for the pet's removal in the order that their names appear on the responsibility card.

Section 5: Security Deposit (Not required for Fish Bowls or Tanks)

Tenant shall pay the Housing Authority the sum of $75.00 as a pet deposit for dogs and cats.  This can be paid in three (3) installments.  The deposit will be fully refundable at the time the tenant moves or disposes of the pet, provided no pet related damage has been done to the unit; (Tenant is responsible for all cost of pet related damage).

The resident's liability for damages caused by his/her pet is not limited to the amount of the pet deposit.  The resident will be required to reimburse the Authority for the real cost of any and all damages caused by his/her pet where they exceed the amount of the pet deposit.

All units occupied by a dog or cat will be fumigated upon being vacated, the cost of which will be deducted from the security deposit.  Costs caused by the infestation of a unit by fleas, mites, ticks or other pests carried by his/her pet shall be the responsibility of the pet owner, and will be deducted from the security deposit.  If that deposit is inadequate to cover charges, the resident will be billed additionally for damage and costs.

Section 6: Dog Ownership Requirement

  • Any dog must be no less than six (6) months old.
  • A pet dog cannot be over 14" tall at the top of the shoulder or weigh over 25 pounds when it is full-grown.
  • Each year at inoculation renewal the resident must show proof that the dog has had proper Parvo shots for distemper and rabies.
  • The resident must furnish the Authority with proof of a current valid City Tag for their dog.
  • A dog must be on a leash at all times when outside of the owner's apartment and accompanied by the owner.
  • A pet dog must wear a collar at all times that shows its license and owner's name and address.  It must also wear a proper flea collar.
  • In a case that a pet deposits waste on the Van Buren Housing Authority's property, the pet owner must use a utensil such as a "Pooper Scooper" to remove any refuse from his/her pet as soon as it is deposited on Authority property.  The waste must then be placed in a plastic bag, sealed tightly, and disposed of as trash.
  • No dog may stay alone in an apartment overnight.  It is the responsibility of the resident if they have to leave suddenly and be away overnight to take the pet elsewhere until they return.  If a pet is found alone, Section 10 of this policy, Pet Removal, shall apply.

Section 7: Cat Ownership Requirements

  • A pet cat must be no less than six (6) months old.
  • No pet cat can be over eight (8) inches tall at the shoulders and weigh over 15 pounds.
  • Cat litter shall not be disposed of by flushing down toilets.  Charges for unclogging toilets or for cleaning up of any common area required because of attributable pet nuisance shall be billed to, and paid by, the resident pet owner.
  • Proof must be shown before pet admission and each year at inoculation renewal that the cat has had the proper FVR-CP and rabies and distemper shots.
  • A pet cat must wear a collar at all times showing its owner's name and address.  It must also wear a cat flea collar.
  • A pet cat MUST be a Domestic House Cat ONLY.
  • No cat may stay alone in an apartment overnight.  It is the responsibility of the resident if they have to leave suddenly and be away overnight to take the pet elsewhere until they return.  If a pet is found alone, Section 10 of this policy, Pet Removal shall apply.
  • All animal waste or litter from cat litter boxes shall be picked up by the pet owner and disposed of in sealed plastic trash bags and placed in trash bins.  Cat litter shall be changed at least twice a week.

Section 8: Bird Ownership Requirements

  • Residents may not have more than two (2) birds to a unit - canaries, parakeets, or lovebirds only.  NO PARROTS!
  • The bird cage must be no larger than three (3) feet high and two (2) feet wide.
  • Birds may not be left alone in an apartment for over two (2) days unless the owner has made arrangements for their daily care.

Section 9: Fish Ownership Requirements

  • Only one fish tank is permitted to a dwelling unit.  It must be no bigger than five (5) gallon capacity size, or a resident may have one (1) large goldfish bowl no more than one (1) gallon capacity size.
  • A pet owner must be aware when cleaning or filling fish tanks that the cost to repair any water damage done to his/her apartment or other Authority property as a result of such cleaning will be billed to the pet owner.  Any charges must be paid within 30 days of the incident.

Section 10: General Policy for Authorized Pets

Resident pet owner must display sign, as issued by the Van Buren Housing Authority.

Resident pet owners agree to control the noise of their pet such that it does not constitute a nuisance to other residents.  Failure to control pet noise may result in the removal of the pet from the premises.

Residents must restrain pets during scheduled inspections and maintenance calls.  If the resident fails to restrain the pet the inspection or maintenance call will be rescheduled and the resident pet owner will be charged  $50.00 for a Return Service Call.


No pet shall be left unattended in any unit for longer than the time periods indicated in this policy.

All resident pet owners shall provide adequate care, nutrition, exercise and medical attention for their pet.  Pets which appear to be poorly cared for or which are left unattended in noncompliance with this policy will be reported to the Humane Society and will be removed from the premises at the pet owner's expense.

In the event of the death of a resident, the resident pet owner agrees that management shall have discretion to dispose of the pet consistent with guidelines laid out in this policy unless written instructions with respect to such disposal are provided in advance by the resident to the Authority project office.

Unwillingness on the part of named caretakers of a pet to assume custody of the pet shall relieve management of any requirement to adhere to any written instruction with respect to the care or disposal of a pet and shall be considered as authorization to management to exercise discretion in such regard consistent with these policy guidelines.

Resident pet owners acknowledge that other residents may have chemical sensitivities or allergies related to pets or are easily frightened by such animals.  The resident, therefore, agrees to exercise common sense and common courtesy with respect to such other resident's right to peaceful and quiet enjoyment of the premises.

Management may move to require the removal of a pet from the premises on a temporary or permanent basis for the following causes:

  1. Creation of a nuisance after proper notification consistent with these Pet Rules. Notice shall be within a forty-eight (48) hour period.
  2. Excessive pet noise or odor with proper notification. Notice shall be twenty-four (24) hours.
  3. Unruly or dangerous behavior.  Notice shall be immediate.
  4. Excessive damage to the resident's apartment unit.
  5. Repeated problems with vermin or flea infestation.
  6. Failure of the resident to provide for adequate care of his/her pet.
  7. Leaving a pet unattended in noncompliance with this policy.
  8. Failure of the resident to provide adequate and appropriate vaccination of the pet.
  9. Resident death and/or serious illness.
  10. Failure to observe any other rule contained in this section and not here listed upon proper notification.

Residents shall not alter the interior of their unit or patio to create enclosures for an animal or bird. No outside cages/pens are to be placed on Authority property.

Residents shall not leave pets unattended or tied up outside of the dwelling unit.

Residents shall not feed stray or unregistered animals.  This shall constitute having a pet without permission of the Authority.


Management and tenant agree to utilize the Grievance Procedure described in the lease agreement to resolve any dispute between tenant and management regarding a pet.