Renting with reptiles

Hello Morphmarket, long time no see!
It’s time for me to look for a new place to live(first time getting an apartment/rental 100% on my own), and I’m not really sure how to broach the topic of my reptiles when looking for a place to rent. I have a cat so I’m already looking for pet-friendly places. Most places have an x/month fee per pet which obviously is not practical with multiple geckos… my animals are mostly in planted displays and aren’t handled frequently, so they’re more like aquariums than anything else.

My current apartment is pretty lax (I got my reptiles over a year after I moved in here, didn’t update my pet policy or anything, maintenance guys have been in multiple times and no one ever brought up my terrariums) but I’m not sure if it’ll be the same at the next place. I feel like specifically getting my terrariums in the lease would be ideal but I don’t know how willing a landlord/property manager would be to do that.

Any thoughts, or experiences leasing with reptiles?


There have been some discussions on this subject but as I remember, the discussions have mostly been focused on snakes.

I am assuming you only have the geckos? If it was me I would be honest and forthcoming about having them as pets and housed in terrariums. Simple as that.

Good luck with your plans and I hope everything goes smoothly……


Though I’d really like to get a snake after I move, just geckos at the moment! They’re about as small and non-threatening as reptiles can be, so I’m hoping there won’t be much friction when I bring them up.

Thank you Caron!


Yep and tbh I don’t think the little geckos will be a problem at all and not nearly as messy as birds! :blush:


This is a concern I have been having myself, once I move out. I also only have a handful of geckos atm, so it’s good to hear that it should go well, as long as I’m open about it:)


If you’re looking for a place in Santa Barbara, CA, my roommate is moving out soon and I’m looking for someone to take over her bedroom!

I think you should try just being upfront and saying that you keep geckos in planted display terrariums. Make them sound like fish, but without the water (some landlords don’t like fish because they’re worried about water damage if a tank leaks). And talk up the fact that they’re quiet, unobtrusive, and aren’t going to cause any damage to the property. Hopefully geckos will be an easier sell to a landlord than snakes (which, sadly, many landlords seem to be prejudiced against even if they’re okay with cats and dogs…which makes NO sense, because snakes and reptiles in general pose far less risk of messing up the place than “normal” pets, but that’s a rant for another day). Maybe conveniently forget to mention that you’re thinking about getting a snake. :joy:


If only I was in CA! All the way over in Tulsa, OK unfortunately.

I’ll have to work on my gecko ‘pitch’! They pretty much are like having dry aquariums without any water mess (which is why I don’t keep fish myself lol).
It is definitely strange having to walk eggshells trying to convince people that reptiles will do no damage. If my sarasinorum didn’t insist on sleeping in a visible spot half the time I’d say I could pass off their cages as just plant displays, reptiles are completely non-obtrusive. Meanwhile I used to hear my neighbor’s dogs lose their mind whenever I started my car for work. Can’t imagine that was fun for the people living on either side of them.
I will certainly forget that I was ever considering snakes :no_mouth: at least in front of prospective landlords!


Read the lease very carefully. Be transparent. If what you will be keeping goes against the lease, get an exception from the leasing company, IN WRITING. The last thing you want is to get evicted.

Some places allow pet hamsters, but that’s it for rodents. Something about an escaped pet rat looks like the apartment has a wild rat infestation.

I think my HOA for my house allows dogs, cats, birds, fish and hamsters. That’s it. Can you imagine a HOA trying to force us to get rid of our herps in our own houses on our own property?


Actually, yes I can. Unfortunately. Plenty don’t specifically allow or disallow species, but neither do they have written exception for container pets like fish, herps, or inverts. My FIL’s HOA allowed two pets in the home who were never to be outdoors unattended. I could easily hear the neighbor’s dog barking in the home next door across the narrow strip of “private lawn.” I asked for clarity regarding whether every fish in an aquarium counted as an individual pet. One person suggested that each aquarium could count as a single pet, but nobody would commit in writing beyond “two pets.” I will never live there.


Honestly, I don’t see the point in trying to keep things from an HoA, landlord, etc. when you live there you sign a contract agreeing to abide by their rules etc. no reason to risk stirring the pot and keeping things secretive.

My HoA only cares about what animals are outside, which makes sense. I could have my own personal mini zoo inside if I so desired to. Just can’t have chickens in my backyard. Find somewhere you can abide by their rules, don’t try to hide from them, in the end it’s not worth it.