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Does Auburn have any homes for pets?

Four-week motel stay discouraging new residents
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A new Auburn resident said she doesn’t want to give up her pets to live in the city. Maggie Montgomery and her husband moved to Auburn with their 3-year-old son and pets for a new beginning. “My husband, David, got offered a job he could not refuse,” Montgomery said. “It’s a great job here at News 10. The job he had prior we were in Florida. This job was a chance to be promoted and have a higher salary. But the requirement was we had to get here in three weeks. I felt pretty confident that we would find a place to live when we got here. So we got to the Motel 6 and started looking.” The family has been living in the motel in Auburn for almost four weeks. “There is no rental inventory hardly at all, and the few places that are available say, ‘no pets,’” Montgomery said. “I am not giving up my animals. I have always had a problem with, due to the lack of places to live, a lot of people are forced to give up their animals.” Montgomery said her family needs to stay in Auburn, because her husband has a 13-year-old daughter from a previous marriage and he has custody of her half of the time. “We might have to go live in Sacramento and give up the hope of having 50 percent custody of our daughter, which is heartbreaking,” she said. Montgomery said she is not able to purchase a home. “Unfortunately, because of what’s happened with the economy, I got laid off my job and I had to file a bankruptcy … and so we are not eligible to purchase property,” she said. “There are plenty of affordable properties to buy. I wish we could get a loan, because they are there.” Montgomery said she used to work for the Placer SPCA when she lived in the area 10 years ago, and lack of housing for pets was an issue then, too. “We saw pets brought in all the time because landlords wouldn’t take them,” she said. “I have never seen such an adamant refusal to work with something – like increase the deposit … I just don’t understand it. We are on week four in the motel, and I’m getting a little discouraged.” Montgomery said she feels like she has explored all avenues in getting a rental home. “I have spent countless hours on Craigslist, and Gold Country Classifieds and reading (the Journal) for any signs of anything,” she said. “I have been talking to Realtors, and talking to investors and talking to property management companies.” Life in the motel has not been easy for her family, but it has made her fall in love with the city, Montgomery said. “It has been extremely challenging bordering on painful,” she said. “Because we live in a box, and we don’t have a kitchen, so we haven’t had very wholesome meals. We have visited pretty much all the restaurants in Auburn. Going through this and having to live mainly outside of the hotel has made me appreciate the city of Auburn.” Jovian Bernhard, a leasing agent with Sutherland Property Management, Inc. in Auburn, said about 50 percent of larger house rental properties allow pets in the Auburn area. “Generally anything smaller than that you are looking at an apartment, condominium, and there just isn’t room for pets there,” Bernhard said. “If someone’s looking to spend $2,300 a month we can probably find them a great place on a few acres that will allow all sorts of pets, but not everybody is.” Bernhard said the availability of three-bedroom rental homes in the area, the type of home Montgomery is looking for, is down because they are popular. Leilani Vierra, chief executive office of the Placer SPCA, said finding properties that allow pets is an issue. “I wouldn’t say it’s unique to our area, but I would absolutely say it can be challenging for people to find pet-friendly housing,” Vierra said. “We have seen absolutely an upsurge of animals being surrendered to us as a result of owners making transitions … to rental housing.” The organization provides a continuously updated list of properties that have identified themselves as pet-friendly on its website. The website also includes a handbook for both renters and landlords to encourage both parties to learn more about pets in rented homes. The handbook lists positive aspects about renting to tenants with pets, including that a responsible pet owner is most likely also a responsible tenant, Vierra said. Vierra said the handbook also encourages tenants to have current reference letters from veterinarians and past landlords to present to prospective landlords. Through the SPCA’s SOS Program, those who have a place to rent, but just need help with the pet deposit can apply for a gift or loan of up to $500, according to Vierra. Montgomery said her particular situation is tough because she has an American bulldog mix. “We have been looking at nothing but large housing,” she said. “Every now and then they will take a pet. A lot of times they say they will accept pets and you will call, and they will accept one pet. Multiple pets are not acceptable. There’s always something that disqualifies us because we happen to have a large dog and a cat.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------ For information on the Placer SPCA’s handbook for renters and landlords, and to learn about the SOS program, visit the organization’s website at placerspca.org and click on the Services tab.