Students commonly hide their pets from landlords and apartment complexes without consequence, but one student-living complex is cracking down.
Some residents at The Estates received pet-eviction notices recently after management conducted property furniture inspections.
Residents were given a 24-hour notice to remove their pets from the premises and a $250 fine.
Lily Svete, a 23-year-old UF biology and psychology senior, said she brought her German shepherd Baylee as a puppy in the Fall and thought it would be OK to keep her at the complex because she’d seen other residents with similar dogs.
“They have never enforced this rule before,” she said. “I never knew it was a rule. I’m from Indiana, so I can’t just take my dog home.”
Baylee, who weighs 63 pounds, exceeds the fewer-than-35-pound pet requirement at the complex. The requirements also prohibit aggressive breeds like pit bulls.
To register pets, tenants must provide proof of pet records, written consent from apartment roommates and pay a $150 nonrefundable fee and a $20 addition to monthly rent.
Gina Cowart, spokeswoman for The Estates, wrote in an email that once the pet is approved, management takes a picture of it and adds the pet to the lease.
“It has been a long standing lease term at the Estates and some might say a standard for many apartment communities that all pets must be registered through the leasing office prior to being allowed on the property,” she said.
Svete said she was given until May to move Baylee. But some residents, like Lilly Kennedy, only had 24 hours to move their pets.
Kennedy, a 22-year-old UF Spanish and linguistics senior, said she had to have her roommate drive her 4-year-old Labrador mix, Roscoe, back home to Orlando. She said management told her that more than 100 tenants received the same notice she did.
Complex management changed earlier this semester, she said, which may have led to the pet crackdown.
“The leasing manager admitted that the old management did not enforce these rules,” Kennedy said.
The Estates tenants looking to find a temporary home for their dogs during finals can place their furry friends at Dogs Rule, a dog boarding and day care center located at 22115 W. Newberry Road.
Jill Davis, director of Dogs Rule, said Estates’ tenants with notices can get free boarding at Dogs Rule for the next couple of weeks. So far, Davis has received two pets from tenants at The Estates.
“If someone is in dire need of placement (for) their dog, it’s no problem,” she said. “They can come here.”
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 4/22/2014 under the headline "Secret pets get eviction notices at The Estates"]