Sarzynski lives in University Village, which allows her to have her dog, Max, stay with her in her studio apartment. Credit: Courtesy of Patricia Sarzynski

When Patricia Sarzynski moved off campus, it was a priority to find a place that was pet-friendly.

Sarzynski, a fourth-year in math education, found University Village, which allowed her to have her dog, Max, stay with her in her studio apartment. The arrangement worked out well enough that she renewed her leasing contract for another year.

Without the pet-friendly housing, Sarzynski could not have continued to live with Max. Certified as an emotional support animal this year, Sarzynski met Max at a pet store 16 years ago. Since then, Max has always been in her life and offered her companionship.

“Since Max is my emotional support animal, by law, I am not responsible for any pet fees or deposits for Max,” Sarzynski said. “I think I am also very grateful that UV is a pet-friendly community.”

If other pet owners without certification wish to have their pet accompany them to their off-campus housing, they could run into issues. Despite no charges on service animals, a pet without therapeutic purposes such as a dog or cat will cost a $300 security deposit and $30 per month in pet fees. Some places don’t allow pets at all.

Caged animals such as rabbits and gerbils are acceptable without additional costs, said Jacoby McCormick, University Village leasing agent.

Sarzynski said she understands the need for a pet deposit, but not the monthly fee.

“It is necessary for University Village to know what kind of animals tenants have and how many, because it would be crazy if someone has 12 cats in their studio,” Sarzynski said. “As for the monthly pet fee, I don’t know why there is one.”

Normally, security deposits are necessary in case the pet causes damage to the house as well as covering the labor necessary to eliminate smells left by the animal, McCormick said.

To make the pet fee worth its value, University Village provides pet amenities including dog parks and waste bags, so “maybe that’s where some of the extra charges come in,” McCormick said.

When it comes to concerns for pet-free properties, McCormick said some rental companies avoid taking risks and expenses of possible damages done in the apartment.

Other concerns might include students who do not clean up after their pets and those who leave their dogs home alone for long periods of time, which might lead to excessive barking that elicits complaints from neighbors.

“I think one of the main reasons why a dog may bark to people is because they are left alone,” Sarzynski said. “It’s unfair to leave a dog in a cage for eight hours a day.”
Sarzynski said she taught and trained Max at an early age. Max not only offers support to her, but she takes equally good care of Max.

“The maximum my dog is home alone is five hours. Even if I work an eight-hour shift, I go home halfway through the day and take him out for a walk,” Sarzynski said. “But if I have a school schedule, I would make sure it works with my dog.”

Sarzynski said if owners want to move off campus and are having trouble with their pets’ behavior, a pet school would be a good option for them, but they still need to live in a pet-friendly area.

McCormick said property managers might also be more helpful than one would think.

“If you’re dying to have a pet but you can’t make that $300 payment right away, just ask. Property managers will accommodate to your needs. So don’t be afraid of asking questions,” McCormick said.