Moving is stressful enough as it is and adding pets into the mix only complicates it further. For most of us, rehoming our pets elsewhere is simply out of the question. After all, our pets are beloved members of the family.
Unfortunately, if you're looking to rent, having a pet usually adds additional obstacles. Not all landlords allow pets, and for the ones that do, you'll likely face breed and weight restrictions. This is the biggest hurdle faced by pet owners looking to lease or rent. You might find the perfect apartment that checks all of your boxes, only to find out the complex has a strict no pets policy.
Roughly 68% of American households have at least one pet, yet according to a landlord survey by Avail, only about 55% of landlords allow pets. So, if you're thinking about moving soon and need to put together a game plan for bringing your dog or cat along with you, this guide is for you.
On the surface, a no pet policy can seem overbearing, outdated, and maybe even a little mean. However, landlords and property owners have many legitimate reasons for not allowing pets on their property. It might not even be the landlord's personal decision, as some condo associations as a while do not allow pets.
Below are some of the most common reasons rental properties decide not to allow pets on their premises.
While every pet parent loves to believe that their precious dog or cat could never cause damage, you simply never know. No matter how well-trained your pet is, an animal still has their natural instincts. Common property damage caused by pets includes scratch marks, destroyed landscaping, carpet stains, and chewed-up wood.
Pets, especially dogs, can be noisy. This can be especially problematic if you live in a high-traffic area. Mail carriers, delivery drivers, and foot traffic can be tempting for certain dogs. The last thing a landlord wants to deal with is multiple noise complaints from neighbors.
While your landlord may not be allergic to dogs or cats themselves, they still need to take other and future tenants into consideration. Depending on the ventilation system set up, allergens and fur can spread to other areas via air conditioning ducts. Having a general no pet policy can be comforting to potential tenants with severe allergies to pets.
Landlords may ban pets from their properties to prevent incidents such as dog bites, which can be litigious and expensive.
Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a new place to call home.
If you've made it this far, you're already aware of how difficult it can be to find a pet-friendly place to rent. Starting your research as early as possible helps maximize your chances of finding something suitable, especially if you've got a large dog. With plenty of obstacles already, the last thing you want is time working against you too.
Ask friends, family members, or even current neighbors if they know of any pet-friendly rental communities or properties nearby. They may know of pet-friendly "for rent by owner" options that may not be as heavily advertised online or elsewhere.
If you're not staying local, check to see if the area you plan on moving to has any renter resources you can use.
With many valid reasons for landlords to not allow pets, consider drafting a "pet resume" that showcases your pet's best qualities. Try to explain why your pet would be a good fit for the community and include any other information that may boost your chances, such as their personality type, any training they've had, and so on. You can even include pet references from previous landlords, neighbors, or roommates vouching for your responsibility.
Never sneak pets into a rental property that doesn't allow them. Doing so could lead to heavy fines, eviction, or other serious consequences. If you've found a property you really love that doesn't allow pets, you can always try asking and pleading your case. Keep in mind, however, that most policies that state "no pets," really mean no pets.
If the property accepts pets, be prepared to fork over additional cash. Many landlords require a pet deposit that may or may not be refundable, as well as an extra monthly pet fee included in your rent every month.
Finally finding a property that meets your needs and allows you to bring your pets along can be a huge sign of relief. The work isn't over, however. You still need to adhere to the terms of your lease and prove yourself as a responsible tenant and pet owner.
Try not to leave your pet unattended for extended periods of time, especially when you've just moved in. Your pets are unfamiliar with their new surroundings and may act out in fear or anxiety, causing damage while you're away. Make sure they've adjusted to their new home before leaving them alone for a long time. It's probably a good idea to make sure your dog is properly crate trained to prevent any damage while you're away.
If you have a dog, daily walks are a must! An un-walked dog with pent-up energy is a recipe for destructive chewing.
A critical part of preventing destructive chewing or other damage is having plenty of toys and stimulation on hand. Interactive dog and cat toys, puzzle treat toys, scratching posts, and cat trees are great for enriching your pets.
This one should be a no-brainer, but it's important enough that we're including it anyway. If your pet has an accident inside the property, clean it up immediately before the stain and odors set in. This not only keeps your living space tidy but can also prevent you from having to extra fees when you move out.
Renting a new place to call home when you have pets can be a stressful process, but if the right steps are taken, it is worth it. Good luck on the search for your next home!
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