You've settled into your new apartment, unpacked the final box and hung the last piece of clothing in the closet. You sit down to a quiet dinner and realize it's too quiet. Something is missing. It's the pitter patter of little feet. No, not those kind, but rather the shuffle that can only be made by a four-legged friend.
Welcoming a pet into your apartment after you've moved in is oftentimes easier than you think. According to petfinder.com, almost half of all rental housing is pet-friendly. It's important, though, to take into account that the term 'pet-friendly' doesn't always mean all pets are welcome.
Cats are usually the most widely-accepted pet without any size or weight restrictions, but dogs may provide a little more of a challenge. Landlords may restrict breeds, as well as set limits on size. In fact, large dogs are the most difficult to introduce into an apartment building.
Before taking any steps to bring a new pet into your home, check your rental agreement. It should lay down the rules for pet ownership. If it says, “no pets allowed," it's safe to assume you'll have a petless home while you live in this particular building.
You should never sneak in a pet illegally. If your lease says no pets, sadly, it's a rule to follow. Sneaking in a pet and getting caught can lead to the forced removal of the animal, payment of a high fee to clean and care for the apartment, or even eviction.
If the language is vague, or the lease states your unit is pet-friendly if you meet the right conditions, the next step is to contact your landlord. Informing management you intend to get a pet and what pet you plan on having ensures there are no penalties for turning your apartment into a pet-friendly home.
Regardless of the language in your lease, you'll need to submit a letter to your landlord formally asking for permission to introduce a furry new resident. As you prepare this letter, there are a few things to consider to increase your chances of getting a 'yes.'
Remember, you may encounter a few obstacles when asking about the pet policy. If past tenants were bad pet owners, your landlord may feel wary allowing any other animals into the apartment.
Management may have concerns about the type of pet or breed you're asking to adopt based on existing stereotypes related to noise or aggression. Consider combating these hiccups to pet ownership with a request letter that's persuasive in all the right ways. You may want to focus on the following topics:
Landlords may have common concerns when it comes to pet adoption. This includes your ability to be a courteous and responsible pet owner. Let your landlord know you're sensitive to how pets can affect neighbors, and that an unruly pet can cause property damage.
Share your intent to fully train and socialize your pet to ensure they're on their best behavior as often as possible. Provide proof you'll be adding pet insurance to your renter's insurance policy to prepare for any incidentals as well.
If there isn't a pet policy in place, with fee requirements, offer to pay a pet deposit of around a few hundred dollars. You can also offer to pay pet rent, adding on anywhere from $50-$100 a month to your existing cost.
This list of stipulations, written by management, can spell out any details they require in order for you to have a pet. Anything from weight and size limits, promising to leash your pet at all times outside of the apartment, producing vaccination records on request, or even the length of time your pet can stay alone in your apartment can go into an addendum.
Approaching these issues before your landlord has a chance to worry about them, in a formal letter, can demonstrate your flexibility when it comes to being a pet owner. This can go a long way in convincing a hesitant landlord to allow you to get a pet.
We've taken the time to put together a sample letter for a letter of complaint that you can download here. Fill in the information for sections in parentheses ( ).
(Current Address of Your Apartment, Unit #)
(City, State, Zip Code)
(Landlord or Apartment Company's Name)
(Address as Printed on Your Lease)
(City, State, Zip Code)
Re: Permission to have a pet in my apartment
Dear (Name of landlord or manager),
I am writing to you today to request permission to adopt a (insert animal) to join our household. As current, responsible tenants, we'd like to make every effort to assure you we'll be courteous pet owners.
We would like to set up a time to discuss the conditions you have to qualify us as pet owners. At that time, we are happy to discuss any financial requirements you may have in order for us to keep a pet, as well as sign a pet agreement to highlight all of your restrictions related to pet ownership.
We promise to provide appropriate levels of exercise, attention and care for our pet. We will continue to keep a clean apartment, take into consideration our pet's interaction with neighbors and ensure our pet is properly cared for whenever we're unable to take care of it ourselves.
We greatly look forward to welcoming a (insert pet) into our home and appreciate your willingness to discuss the opportunity with us. Please (call/email) at (insert phone or email based on preference for communication) at your earliest convenience so we can schedule a time to talk.
(Your Name and Signature)
(Phone or Email Address)