SoCal Connected on KCET

Room for Rent in North Hollywood, Pets Required

Original Airdate July 2, 2014

Nick Hardcastle: Finding an apartment in Los Angeles to live in can be hard enough. But, when you love and live with your pets, it can be nearly impossible. The countless ads that read, "no pets, no pets, maybe a small cat, no pets…” until finally finding one that says, "pets OK.” Well we found an apartment building where pets aren't just OK, they're compulsory.

This haven for pet owners is in the heart of North Hollywood. Before we embarked on our tour, we got a rather warm welcome from some of the tenants.

Nick Hardcastle: Meet Judy Guth. She’s a life-long pet lover and bought the apartment complex over 40 years ago and quickly instituted a strict policy.

Judy Guth: In my building, they have to have one or two dog. Any size, any kind, any age, any color. Or three or four inside spade cats. I don't like people who are advertising apartment for rent and say, "No pets. Or small pets, or this pet or that set." So I came up with the idea you must have a pet in this building.

Nick Hardcastle: And what's behind this landlord's unconventional policy?

Judy Guth: I always liked pets in my life. I never had brothers or sisters and they made me happy and I wanted other people to be…feel like me..happy.

Nick Hardcastle: And what are the rules? I mean, what are the conditions that someone has to abide by in order to be a tenant here?

Judy Guth: Well, we check first, the pet. Are they running? Do they have the vaccination tag? We will, later, check the owners..

Nick Hardcastle: So it's more important that you check out the pet first.

Judy Guth: Pet first, yes.

Nick Hardcastle: Judy welcomed Audrey into the complex 10 years ago. And when her pet passed away, one of the conditions of her staying was for Audrey to get a new one.

Now Audrey has two dogs. And while they can be a bit pugnacious with the other dogs in the building, they are very friendly with each other. How about with Maggie? They get along well?

Audrey Hendricks-Fox: Oh, he loves her. That's why he doesn't get along with the other dogs 'cause he's protecting her.

Nick Hardcastle: One of the reasons landlords discourage pets is the damage they can do to carpets. But Judy came up with a simple solution.

Audrey Hendricks-Fox: Instead of requiring a deposit in the building, you pay for your carpet, instead of a deposit. So, the carpet it ours if the dog messes it up, no problem.

Nick Hardcastle: Or you've got to fix it, replace it.

Audrey Hendricks-Fox: It's our own responsibility.

Nick Hardcastle: How do you find that living in an apartment block where everyone has pets affects your way of life?

Audrey Hendricks-Fox: It's wonderful because I always have somebody to look in on my dogs if I can't get home. And they all understand if you can hear my dog barking -- they all understand if he barks so I don't get the people calling me and yelling at me so it's really nice.

Tsunami Turner: I think pet owners are really great because we take care of our pets. We take care of our property.

Nick Hardcastle: Tsunami is a tenant as well. She's turned her apartment into a doggie daycare business.

Nick Hardcastle: And it’s her cat who is the queen of the castle.

Nick Hardcastle: How does she get on with having two dogs - sometimes more in the house?

Tsunami Turner: She's a very cat-like cat so she doesn't really like anybody.

Nick Hardcastle: So it never gets aggressive...?

Tsunami Turner: Sometimes that'll happen. Theo!

Nick Hardcastle: But Theo doesn't actually live here? Theo sit. Good boy. So it's actually incredibly impressive that there are so many cats and dogs in this one complex.

Audrey Hendricks-Fox: This is the most loving apartment building I have ever been in in my entire life. I am absolutely blessed to live here... It's a wonderful place. I love my neighbors.

Nick Hardcastle: What about you, Maggie? You love your neighbors too? She’s not much of a talker.

Judy will never have a problem filling a vacancy. She gets calls all the time from pet owners looking for a place. That’s why she’s dogging other landlords to adopt a “pets only” policy.

For “SoCal Connected,” I'm Nick Hardcastle.

Finding an apartment in Los Angeles that permits pets is not as easy as it sounds. With so many "no pets allowed" signs, it can be a challenge finding an ideal living environment with people who share a love for furry animals.

Nick Hardcastle visits one North Hollywood apartment that has become a sort of haven for pets and tenants. Owner Judy Guth not only permits pets in the vicinity, but makes it a requirement.

For nearly 40 years, Guth has opened up the doors to her apartment complex with the hopes of creating a welcoming place for both pets and tenants.

"I don't like people who are advertising apartments for rent and saying 'no pets.' So I came up with the idea, you must have a pet in this building," explained Guth. In order to live in her building, you have to have own one or two dogs, or three or four indoor cats.

Nick Hardcastle interviews happy tenants and the owner of this pet-friendly apartment complex to see if there's any vacancy for him.

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