Looking for a place to rent is always an adventure, even more so if you’re a pet owner. Many landlords and property management companies are wary about renting with pets, and for good reason: Irresponsible pet owners can alienate neighbors and cost property owners thousands of dollars in damage repairs. Prepare for some extra challenges when finding a new place to live when renting with pets.
Here are some tips for getting a great apartment for yourself and your furry or feathered companion:
Understand Landlord Concerns About Renting with Pets
Landlords don’t forbid pets in their buildings just to be mean. Pets can do some serious damage to both rental units and community spaces and it is ultimately the landlord’s responsibility to deal with repairs.
Here are some typical landlord concerns:
- Damage to carpet and furnishings.
- Inability to get pet odors out of the unit after your departure.
- Dog messes on the building’s grounds.
- Animals left alone can make a lot of noise and are at greater risk of damaging the property.
- Risk of injury to another tenant.
- Large dogs or dogs that are considered to be of a “dangerous” breed might be considered a liability risk.
If you approach your landlord with an understanding of his concerns, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate an arrangement that works for both of you.
Talk to Your Vet
Before you begin your search for a rental home, take your animal in for a vet visit. Having vet records showing that your animal is in good health and is up to date on shots can be helpful in persuading a landlord to accept your pet into her building.
Put Together a Pet Resume
Much like a job resume, a pet resume is a document that contains details about your pet. Put together a detailed record of your pet’s behavior, medical history and a list of people who can testify that you are a responsible pet owner. Attaching documentation such as vet health certificates and obedience school diplomas to your pet resume gives in credibility.
Narrow Your Search
Before you begin your property hunt, be realistic about the kind of property that you need. Look for an unfurnished unit, preferably without carpeting that your pet could soil or damage. If you have a large or energetic dog, you might have difficulty getting a landlord to rent you a small apartment: Consider a house or a large, garden apartment with yard access. Older buildings are less likely to be sound proofed, something to think about if you have a particularly loud animal.
Prepare for Negotiation
Be proactive in approaching landlords and property managers and expect to do some negotiating. Here are a few things to address during your discussions:
- If you make regular use of a pet sitter, dog walker or doggy day-care, let the landlord know about this. He may be concerned about a dog left alone in your apartment all day and knowing that the dog is looked after might persuade him to rent to you.
- Let the landlord know if you are willing to bring in your own air purifiers or to pay for regular steam-cleaning of any carpets.
- Offer to pay for a professional cleaning when you move out of the unit.
- If a landlord doesn’t ask for a pet deposit, but appears to be on the fence about accepting your application, offer an additional security deposit anyway.
- If you have a large or “bully breed” dog, offer to muzzle the dog when taking him in or out of the building.
Be a Good Tenant
Once accepted as a tenant, make good on your promise to be a responsible renter and pet owner: Not only is it the right thing to do, but you may need your current landlord to give you a reference in the future. Clean up immediately after your pet and address problems with barking, scratching or chewing immediately. Keep your pet’s shots up-to-date and be courteous to your neighbors when taking your dog out for walks.
Are you a pet owner who rents? Have you faced any challenges? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section.