If you’re a dog owner, you well understand that, along with the joy, having a pup brings a lot of new responsibilities and, sometimes, challenges into your life. One of these challenges becomes painfully apparent when searching for a rental with your dog.
You can often face a situation when the rental of your dreams has a strict no-pets policy, and the pool of options shrinks dramatically as soon as you tick the “pets allowed” box on the apartment search website.
You might be lucky to live in one of the most dog-friendly cities in the US, or you may struggle with your pooch in one of the less dog-friendly districts of your town. No matter the situation, there are some ways to increase your chances of renting a home with a dog.
There are plenty of examples all over the Internet of people sneaking their pets into a rental after signing their lease. You should never do that for a variety of reasons. First of all, as a pet owner, you represent a certain community, and by this derogatory act, you put down all pet owners in the landlord’s eyes. This could be a reason the landlord would strictly prohibit all future tenants from having any pets.
Besides, sooner or later, your landlord might become aware of the presence of a pup in the apartment, and you could easily get into trouble. The landlord can legally terminate the lease if you break it, and you could end up being evicted or sued.
Take Your Time
Finding an apartment that will be right both for you and your furry companion can take some time, and that’s ok! After all, you have to find a place that will not only satisfy all your requirements but also allows dogs. If you know beforehand that soon you’d have to search for a new home, do not procrastinate; start your search early.
If you start looking for a new apartment eight weeks before your moving date, it will significantly improve your chances of finding a great home. Not just some crash pad that was available from yesterday.
Also, don’t get discouraged if you don’t land your dream home simply because of the pup (and again, don’t try to hide them!) — it might require some time and effort, but good things come to those who wait!
Make Sure the Place is Right
This advice is somewhat connected to the previous item on the list. Before rushing into taking a place that allows dogs and, let’s say, is close to your work, make sure it satisfies other requirements you have as a dog owner. Check if there are some parks and appropriate areas for walking dogs nearby. You should also do quick research on the pet stores and vets within sniffing distance. The 24/7 vet clinic two blocks away will not be the only defining factor for you to choose a rental, but you should know what to expect from your new neighborhood, so you would not be disappointed later.
Create a Pet Resume
You have to go through a background check before signing the lease agreement, so it is an excellent idea to do the same for your pet. Prepare a short document you can present to your prospective landlord with anything you think might help your case. There are no requirements for how a pet resume should look like, but some aspects are more beneficial than others.
For example, you can ask for references from your previous landlords or neighbors, attach the certificate from the vet about the health condition and vaccines of your furry companion, and mention if the dog is sterilized or neutered. It will also be helpful to show if you attended some dog training with your pooch. Write down the age, breed, and size, as all this can help to understand better the full picture of what your doggo is like. And don’t forget a couple of cute pictures — it might be the final shot to win the heart of your future landlord!
Tell Them About Yourself
When you have a chance to share some info about your dog, don’t forget to point out why you are a trustworthy tenant and responsible dog owner. What do you do to ensure your dog is happy, healthy, and well-behaved? For some landlords, the biggest problem might be excessive shedding, so if you groom your Yorkie every month, it’s definitely worth mentioning! Do you take your dog for a run every evening to release some energy? Do they have all the chewing toys in the world, and that’s why they’d never chew on a carpet? You might know all this, but not the person you meet for the first time, so don’t be shy to tell a few things about yourself as a dog owner.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of Chitchat
Sometimes, one little conversation might help to persuade the landlord and get your dream apartment. Don’t hang up or leave immediately after hearing “no pets, sorry,” and make an effort to have a discussion. Was it a specific experience that made the landlord biased against having dogs in the rental? Could this be negotiable if you include certain points in the lease agreement or throw in a few extra hundreds towards a deposit?
Sure, you don’t want to sound like a desperate salesperson trying to sell a vacuum cleaner. But, after all, we’re all people here (except your pooch, of course), and it’s easier to find common ground if you are not afraid to communicate. Being able to listen to others and relate something about yourself and your furry companion can go a long way!
Get Everything in Writing
Seems like you’ve come to an understanding and ready to sign a lease agreement? Great! But it’s not the time to relax just yet; make sure that all the dog-related details you’ve discussed with the future landlord will be mentioned in the agreement as well. The amount of the pet deposit and pet rent, if there is one, some specific restrictions, such as the pet’s size — it’s your responsibility to check if everything is in place. After all, this can save you a lot of trouble in the future!
Finally, you should remember that it might take some time and effort to find a great new home for both you and your dog. Be respectful, try to put yourself in the landlord’s shoes, and look out for your canine companion’s best interest. After all, there are a lot of landlords who’ve had only positive experience with dog owners, and plenty of happy dog-owners living in rentals with their pup by their side!
About the author: Mariia Kislitsyna serves as an editor and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips Blogs, dedicating the majority of her time to finding great new cities and interesting real estate information to write about. As a polyglot and literature fanatic, she also enjoys writing about culture, travel, and career, and she’s been featured in and written for a variety of publications across the web.