7 Things You Need to Know About Renting with Pets
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to renting with pets. The bad news is: while many landlords will allow you to have fish, frogs and turtles without batting an eye, they are more likely to say no to your furry pets.
The good news is: there are many pet-friendly apartments that offer more generous accommodations, and simply learning a few “tried and true” strategies of your own, will set you on your way to finding your dream rental.
We’ve put together a list of seven of the most important things you need to know about renting with pets.
1. Many landlords advertise pet-friendly apartments.
You might find the perfect apartment and then stumble upon the landlord’s “no pets policy.” You might even consider moving in with man’s best friend without disclosing his presence to the landlord. Not recommended!
Your life will be much easier if you apply for rented pads where pets are welcomed, and this is usually plainly stated in the property listing. Not disclosing your pet to the landlord where a “no pet policy” exists constitutes a breach of contract and can result in eviction.
2. You can ask the landlord.
While searching for a pet-friendly apartment is the easiest way to go, some landlords are fairly lenient and are willing to negotiate on their policy. Address the landlord’s concerns about pets with empathy and explain how you plan to prevent common pet-related issues, such as: damage to property, infestations, like fleas and ticks, and behavioral disturbances, including incessant howling. Ultimately, you want to portray your pet in the best light as an another tenant in the unit.
3. Providing references helps.
Most landlords want to see references before they agree to rent an apartment. Landlords want to know in advance that a prospective renter is a good risk, and the same thing goes for his or her pet. Showing up with a reference letter or two from your current landlord or neighbor may help inspire confidence.
4. A pet resume may help your cause.
Ease the mind of your landlord by preparing a pet resume. This document can contain any information that will show your pet in the best possible light. This can include documents that show regular veterinary care, including required shots and spaying or neutering.
If you have a dog who has been to obedience school, documentation of that may help as well. Likewise, it may help your cause to provide a copy of your plan on dealing with problems, such as fleas or worms.
5. Renting with pets often translates into extra fees or deposits.
Landlords often hedge their bets by charging extra in security deposit to residents with pets. Others may tack on an extra amount onto the monthly rent. The landlord holds these extra fees in reserve to help defray the costs of any damages your pet may cause.
Likewise, these fees can be applied to any extra cleaning your apartment needs after you move out. The good news is pet deposits are typically refundable, so if your pet is a model tenant, you can get your money back after you move out. If a landlord is on the fence about accepting you and your pet as a package deal, offering a pet deposit may tip negotiations in your favor.
6. Landlords may want to meet your pet.
If a landlord is unsure about accepting your pet, arranging a “meet and greet” may help. Taking a pet to meet your prospective landlord allows him or her to see firsthand how well-behaved, clean, and well-groomed your pet is. However, be sure to ask before you take Fido along with you.
7. Your landlord may require you to buy renter’s insurance.
Many tenants purchase renter’s insurance to provide financial protection against damage to personal property, burglary and injury. Renter’s insurance may also include liability protection that covers you in the event that your pet injures someone. Some landlords may insist that you to purchase a renter’s insurance to satisfy guidelines written in the the rental contract.
Finding pet policies for your cat and dog may require a bit more work, but with a little effort, you’re sure to find new digs for you and your furry friend. The key is to look for rentals specifically advertised as pet-friendly, and show up prepared to demonstrate that both you and your pet are sure bets. For rentals that aren’t advertised as pet friendly, be prepared to negotiate with landlords.
Photo credit: CherryPoint