Apartment Hunting With Your Pet
If you are a pet owner and a renter, then you already know how hard it can be to find an apartment that allows pets. The simple fact of the matter is that many landlords specifically state in their leases that they don’t allow cats or dogs in any of their units. The reasons for this are fairly straightforward and make a lot of sense when you think about them: pets can be dirty, noisy, and sometimes even dangerous. For many landlords, the negatives of renting to pet owners far outweigh the positives so they just decide to keep their apartment buildings pet-free.
While some apartment buildings obviously need to be pet-free (think: people with allergies to pet hair), not all do. The five quick tips discussed below will help you find an apartment that allows pets and ensure that you’re all set to sign the lease when you do.
1. Give Yourself Time – Because it can be difficult to find a pet-friendly apartment building, it is essential that you give yourself plenty of time for your apartment search. Don’t start looking the month that your current lease ends – start looking at least three months beforehand. By keeping your eyes open early and talking to friends who rent with pets, you will increase your chances of finding the perfect home.
2. Make Sure the Apartment Really is ‘Pet Friendly’ – Even though an apartment might allow pets, it might not really be a good place for your pets, especially if you have a dog. As dogs need space, it is essential that you find an apartment with a good area to walk nearby or, better yet, a space for running.
3. Be Upfront – When meeting with a landlord for the first time, tell them that you are a pet owner. Don’t wait to tell them until right before signing the lease. Furthermore, don’t sugarcoat anything – tell them exactly what kind of pet you have, how big it is, and its habits. Telling your landlord that your dog is twenty-five pounds when it is really fifty pounds isn’t going to do anyone any good.
4. Prepare Pet References – Your prospective landlord will want to know for certain that your pet is well-behaved. Preparing pet references to show them is a surefire way to reassure them. Pet references should include a report from the vet (stating that your pet is current with all the required vaccinations), a letter from your current landlord, a certificate of training, and a record of their size and breed.
5. Be Ready to Pay a Deposit – Nearly every pet-friendly apartment building is going to require an additional pet deposit if you rent with a pet. This deposit goes to cover the cost of any damages caused by your pet. Unlike a security deposit, it is usually non-refundable. Ask your prospective landlord about the exact cost during your first apartment showing.