Bird-friendly apartments in Central MA?
December 17, 2017 10:00 AM   Subscribe

I have been searching and searching for a 1-bedroom apartment that will allow birds...and it has been difficult. Most will allow cats, and that is about it. You're lucky if you can get a small dog. And many realtors/landlords also ask for vet records as well. However, what is the bird owner to do? Are there any tips/tricks to finding these hidden gems of the apartment world for pet owners? Have I missed something?

So, for a bit of backstory, I have 3 parakeets and 1 Quaker parrot. All are on the "small" side, as I've explained on the phone countless times. All birds get along with each other. I clean up after the little guys. It will be a cold day in Hell before I get rid of them.

I work in Waltham, currently live in Newton, and am looking to move due to the price of rent in the area. I currently pay $1400/month, which is already expensive, and am anticipating that it will only go up more when my lease is expires/renews January 31. I am looking at anywhere within commutable distance of Waltham for $900 or less per month.

Any advice?
posted by Delia to Pets & Animals (13 answers total)
What have people said when they have told you no? Is it “too many” pets, or “no birds”? Either way, a private landlord might be thrilled - birds are way less destructive than dogs or cats. I would try telling prospective landlords you have “parakeets” and not go into details unless requested.
posted by corb at 10:11 AM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Are the birds loud enough for your neighbors to hear? If not, I would just...not mention them to potential landlords. If maintenance has to come you can put them in the closet in cages with towels over them (or whatever it is people do to make birds go to sleep.)
posted by tatiana wishbone at 10:11 AM on December 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: corb, usually if the answer is no, it's because they only allow ONE cat, and that's it. Which, yeah, is weird because cats tend to do way more property damage, especially if they miss the litterbox just once.

Saying just "parakeets" sounds like a good idea, though. I'll try that.

tatina wishbone, with regards to noise, I have not gotten a single complaint. You can only hear them if you're right near the door, and it's a certain time of the day.
posted by Delia at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yes the problem with birds is noise. Quaker parrots, also called Monk Parakeets, are definitely capable of being loud.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:18 AM on December 17, 2017

Response by poster: Bee'sWing, hmm. How would I address this/prove that I'm a responsible tenant in this case? Are certain buildings/types of units less inclined to have noise carry?

I viewed a really nice apartment in Belchertown yesterday, where the landlord was actually 100% okay with the birds and I'd have a whole floor to myself...but it would be a 90 minute commute to work each way. :/
posted by Delia at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2017

Maybe something like, "Here is a picture of my birds being cute with each other, and here are two references who live next door and above me who can attest that they are not loud."
posted by amtho at 10:40 AM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm a bird owner and have had potential landlords balk when I've said anything other than parakeets. Parakeets have been met with "oh of course, no problem". I've always lived in major US cities and any pet deposit has usually been waived.

In reality, they are lovebirds and conures.
posted by ElectricGoat at 11:58 AM on December 17, 2017 [6 favorites]

Technically, all those little long-tailed birds are parakeets! We call budgerigars parakeets in the US, but they are only one kind of parakeet. So by all means, say you have parakeets if it helps.

I do also like the idea of being able to offer references from previous landlords or neighbors, if such a thing is possible.
posted by Orlop at 1:56 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Before I bought a house my entire rental career involved renting with parakeets. I just said I have a parakeet in a cage (in reality multiple parakeets, who often come out). The landlord was more than often relieved that it wasn’t a big parrot or a dog, in my experience in California and Colorado, they often didn’t even put that I had a pet on the lease. Maybe try framing for it differently?
posted by cakebatter at 2:25 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Wow, I have had no problems (Texas, 2 budgies, 2 lovebirds, 1 tiel, all are out whenever I'm home). I usually just say "I have small birds, they live in cages" or as upthread, "parakeets." It wasn't even put on the lease.

The lovebirds can be loud as fuck, but I'm also lucky to have pretty good noise control -- I hardly ever hear my neighbors.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:07 AM on December 18, 2017

I don' t have birds, but as the owner of another less usual pet--rabbits-- these are some descriptors I've used to reassure landlords:

3 small house rabbits who are litter trained and live in a pen

So if your birds tend to live in a cage (even if it's to sleep or only when you're not home), you can describe them as caged. And if they usually (but not always because who doesn't have accidents?) go in the cage/over newspaper/in the same spot, you can describe them as paper/litter trained. Small stretches of the truth can go a long way to reassure people who aren't familiar with your house pet.
posted by carrioncomfort at 7:19 AM on December 18, 2017

Response by poster: So, I'm really liking the suggestions to carefully word that I have "parakeets." Maybe even embellish it to "a couple," leaving out that it's actually four. ;)

Any specific sites/apps that I'm missing out on, though? On that regards, it really does seem like I've searched everywhere...and I only have weekends to actually go and view the places.
posted by Delia at 3:19 PM on December 18, 2017

Response by poster: Okay, just as an update: I found and am now living in my new (bird-friendly!) apartment in Fitchburg. Rent is a mere $775/month...with the major downside of dealing with the world's worst/most expensive utility company (Unitil). I may be making a follow-up post about them shortly.
posted by Delia at 6:30 PM on May 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

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