Pets and Rentals: It can – and does – work!
No pets allowed. No dogs over 40 pounds. No bully breeds. No problem!
In a study conducted by the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, a top reason for pet homelessness is related to moving and being unable to secure pet friendly housing. It might not be easy sometimes, but it is possible to find housing options. Here are some tips to help showcase you and your pet as your landlord’s next dream tenants.
Tip 1: Start Early!
Start looking for new rental properties 6-8 weeks in advance of the end of your lease. Search online for pet friendly rentals near you. Ask those you know for recommendations – utilize your friends on social media as a referral network where you can.
Tip 2: Create a Pet Resume
By providing your pet’s information, routine, medical records and references, you are demonstrating that you are a responsible pet owner, and that your pet is a star neighbor! A typical pet resume will include the following:
- Your pet’s name, age, breed, and spay/neuter status.
- A brief description of your pet’s temperament. For example, “Baxter enjoys playing with other dogs at the dog park, loves to play fetch and is friendly with children.” Let the landlord know your pet is housebroken and – if applicable – seldom vocal.
- Your pet’s medical status. Demonstrate that you are a responsible pet owner and that your pet is regularly checked by a veterinarian. Provide copies of your pet’s medical records showing that he/she is spayed/neutered and current on all vaccinations and parasite preventatives.
- Include a profile of you and your proven ability as a responsible pet owner. Explain your typical daily routine with your dog and any extra points, how you break up the day by coming home at lunch/have a dog walker/send him to daycare. Don’t forget to include a list of any training classes you and your pup have taken to show off his accomplishments. For cat owners, include points like how you clean the litter box daily and discourage scratching by clipping your cat’s nails and providing a scratching post.
- Add a photo of your pet! Nobody can resist a cute picture.
- Include references. Consider that landlords want to maintain the integrity of their property and may have had unpleasant pet experiences in the past. Attach contact information or reference letters from your veterinarian, groomer, previous landlords, dog trainers, pet sitters and anyone that regularly interacts with your pet. If you’re short on references, maybe start bringing Baxter to obedience classes or taking Kitty to the groomer. They’ll help your pet while simultaneously beefing up your pet’s resume!
Tip 3: Make arrangements for the landlord to meet your pet.
You’ve done a great job of demonstrating how great your pet is on paper and how responsible you are. Now see if your potential landlord will meet your pet to see in person how wonderful he is.
Tip 4: Offer a Pet Deposit.
Many landlords fear a pet will be destructive and damage property. Offer to provide an extra deposit for your pet that can be used to repair any damages after you move. Make it clear you have never experienced destructive behaviors from your pet, but that you are willing to provide this extra courtesy.
Tip 5: Be Persistent!
Just because a property advertises as “No pets allowed,” does not mean they will not be lenient for certain pets. Let the landlord know you respect their policy, but politely offer your pet’s resume and offer to include a pet fee with your security deposit. Offer a meet-and-greet before they make a decision.
Tip 6: Be Patient.
Remaining patient is important. Pet friendly rentals are out there! And once you’ve found THE place, take as much time as necessary to fully understand all the rules and regulations pertaining to your lease or homeowner’s association contract. Make sure “pets allowed” is part of your written lease agreement or in the association by-laws. And once you’re moved in, respect the rules. Moving is hard enough, but the chance to keep your beloved furry family member with you is a time-tested solution to weather the challenges.