Four years ago when my husband and I moved to a new state so I could start a new job, we had a horrible time finding an apartment that would allow us to have pets. Most of the ones we looked at, including where we live now, charged an extra "pet fee" ranging from $50 to $100 a month. Sometimes the fee was PER PET.
Now, we have two female cats who have been both spayed and declawed. Truth be told, we have done more damage to our place than they have. In fact, the WORST incident occurred when our infant niece came to visit and flung sweet potato baby food all over our beige carpet.
Two summers ago, while I was writing my first book, I listened to the racket of a family of 8 who lived behind us. One day one of the kids actually came up to our window and started screaming at our cats. Where were their parents, you ask? Who knows. We barely ever saw them. They let their kids run amuck with little to no supervision.
It was a glorious day when we saw the moving truck pull up to their place.
You may be wondering why we donít just buy a house. Well, we would LOVE one. We canít afford it. We have our eyes on the prize, and someday we hope to move into our own place. Hopefully in a neighborhood where there arenít kids screaming at all hours of the day and night.
When I was a kid, my mother, sister, and I moved into an apartment complex where you HAD to have kids to live there. No one was admitted who didnít have at least one child. When our neighbor moved in next door to us, she was pregnant. I often wondered what would have happened to her if she had had a miscarriage, or if she had chosen to give her child up for adoption. Would she have been evicted?
As it turns out, we were the ones who got evicted. We took in a stray cat, and when given an ultimatum to get rid of the cat, my mom found someplace else for us to live.
Some areas have attempted to start child free neighborhoods, with varying degrees of legal success.
What do you think about this idea? Should people have the right to choose the type of environment in which they would like to live? Or does the idea smack of discrimination? How does banning children differ from banning pets?
Email your thoughts and I will compile them in another article on the subject of child free housing.