Skip to Main Content

Pet Policy - Non-Elderly and Non-Disabled Households

Pet Policy and Rules

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

Section 1: Enabling Regulations

Section 226 of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 added a new Section 31 (Pet Ownership in Public Housing) to the United States Housing Act of 1937. It states that:

A resident of a dwelling unit in public housing may own one or more common household pets or have one or more household pets present in the dwelling unit of such resident, subject to the reasonable requirements of the public housing agency.  If the resident maintains each pet responsibly and in accordance with applicable State and local public health, animal control and criminal and cruelty laws and regulations and with the policies established in the public housing agency plan for the agency.                       

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.

This policy applies to non-elderly, non-disabled families living in public housing.  It does not apply to elderly families or to "service animals that assist persons with disabilities" residing in public or assisted housing or service animals that visit the Authority.

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 type of pet, a recent picture of it, its name, age, and if applicable, its license registration number, current inoculation information, and the name and address of its veterinarian. Proper registration will also include a signed Pet Responsibility Card as described in Section 5 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.

A refundable $200.00 pet deposit must be paid at the time of submission of the "Pet Permit Application."  If the pet application is approved, this amount will apply toward the resident's security deposit and will be held in an escrow account.  The pet deposit is to be used to cover costs of damages or fumigation that may be required as the result of the pet ownership.  The pet deposit will be refunded along with any accumulated interest, minus any applicable charges, within thirty (30) days after the resident vacates the unit or the pet is permanently removed from the unit.

Also, a non-refundable nominal monthly fee may be assessed each pet owner to cover the costs associated with the implementation of this pet policy.

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: Type Dwelling Units Permitted Pets

According to this "Pet Policy and Rules", families living within Authority dwelling units are permitted pets.

Section 4: 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 resident may have either one cat or one dog, and/or one fish tank or bowl, and/or one bird cage with no more than two birds.

Section 5: Pet Responsibility Card

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 when shots expire.  Persons so named will be responsible for the pet's removal in the order that their names appear on the responsibility card.

Section 6: Security Deposit (Not Required for Fish Bowls or Tanks)

The pet deposit of $200.00 as stated in "Section 4" above will be held in an escrow deposit.  Upon the resident vacating the unit, this will be refunded along with any accumulated interest, minus repairs or damage or necessary fumigation incurred by the pet. Such deposit will be used for services related to flea or other pet pest removal as well as other damages.

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 7: Dog Ownership Requirements

Resolution No. 2001-04 dated June 19, 2001:  Resident agrees to the Requirements for Dog Ownership which states the Resident will carry Liability Insurance in the amount of $300,000.00 with the Van Buren Housing Authority as an additional insured party.

  • A resident dog owner must pay a non-refundable nominal monthly pet maintenance charge of $5.00 with the rent by the first of each month.
  • Any dog must be no less than six (6) months old and completely housebroken.
  • A pet dog cannot be over 14 inches tall at the top of the shoulder or weigh over 25 pounds when it is full-grown. 
  • Proof that the dog is already neutered or spayed must be furnished before the dog will be allowed to reside on Authority property.
  • Each year when shots expire, the resident must show current proof that the dog has had proper Parvo shots for distemper and rabies.  This proof must be signed by a legally registered, practicing veterinarian.   
  • The proper municipal authority must license each dog by January 31 of each year.  The resident must furnish the Authority with proof of a current valid license renewal for their pet.
  • A dog must always wear a collar that shows its license and owner's name and address.  It must also wear a proper flea collar.
  • The dog's flea collar must be changed every (3) months.
  • A dog must be on a leash at all times when outside of the owner's apartment unless it is in an approved locked pet carrier.  Small dogs should be held.
  • Dogs may not be exercised or curbed on the Van Buren Housing Authority's property. They must be walked or curbed outside of Van Buren Housing Authority grounds.
  • 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 11 of this policy, Pet Removal, shall apply.

Section 8: Cat Ownership Requirements

  • As for cats, a non-refundable nominal monthly maintenance charge of $5.00 is to be paid with the rent by the first of each month.
  • 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.
  • All cats must be litter trained before admission to an Authority unit.
  • Cat litter shall not be disposed of by flushing down toilets.  Charges for unclogging toilets or for clean up of any common area required because of attributable pet nuisance shall be billed to, and paid by, the resident pet owner.
  • A resident must use an Authority approved cat litter box.  Litter must be put in a sealed plastic bag and disposed of daily.
  • Proof that the cat has been de-clawed and spayed or neutered must be shown before its admission to Authority property is approved.
  • Proof must be shown before pet admission and each year when shots expire that the cat has had the proper FVR-CP and rabies and distemper shots.  This proof must be signed by a legally registered, practicing veterinarian.
  • 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.
  • The cat flea collar must be changed every three (3) months.
  • A cat must be on a leash at all times when outside of the owner's apartment unless it is in an approved locked pet carrier.
  • A pet cat must be exercised off of Authority property.
  • If 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 waste 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 put inside a proper waste receptacle.
  • 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.
  • 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 11 of this policy, Pet Removal shall apply.

Section 9: Bird Ownership Requirements

No monthly maintenance fee is required for residents owning a bird, unless a problem of health or safety should require it.

  • No more than two (2) birds to a unit will be permitted - canaries, parakeets, or lovebirds only.  No parrots!
  • The bird cage must be no larger than three (3) feet high and two (2) feet wide.
  • Cages must be cleaned daily and debris disposed of in a plastic bag to be put in a trash immediately.
  • Birds must be healthy and free of disease at all times.
  • 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 10: 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.    
  • At a minimum, a fish tank must be cleaned monthly.  A fish bowl must be cleaned weekly.  Waste water from the tank or bowl must be disposed of in the apartment toilet.
  • Fish may not be alone in the unit for over one (1) week unless the owner has made arrangements for their daily care.
  • 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 11: General Policy for Authorized Pets

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

Pets are never permitted in another apartment or in common areas (i.e. office or community building).

Any pet suffering illness must be taken within two (2) days to a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.  Upon its request, the Van Buren Housing Authority must be shown a statement from the veterinarian indicating the pet illness diagnosis.  Any pet suspected of suffering rabies or any other disease considered to be a health threat must be immediately removed from the premises, until signed evidence from a veterinarian can be produced to indicate that the animal is not so afflicted.

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.

THE VAN BUREN HOUSING AUTHORITY SHALL TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS UNDER LAW TO REMOVE ANY PET THAT CAUSES BODILY INJURY TO ANY RESIDENT, GUEST, VISITOR OR STAFF MEMBER.

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.

Residents shall not allow pets tied, or outside of the dwelling unit, directly on the grounds of the Authority.

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

VISITING PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED.  THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE SERVICE ANIMALS THAT ASSIST PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.

Residents shall carry a liability insurance to cover any incidents of bodily injury.