Pet Friendly Rental Searches
Pet friendly rental searches may seem as easy as clicking a button on a website, but in order to find a rental where you as a pet owner and your pet and – yes, your landlord – will really be happy, you need to take some important steps:
1. Understand that while you think everyone should have a dog or cat, that view is not unanimous. Having been a landlord, I can say without reserve, that pet owners generally are more responsible tenants, and I preferred them over pet-less folks. But many landlords would disagree, so this means you must assume that just because an ad says pets are permitted, there may not be a red carpet.
2. If a rental ad says “no pets,” pass on it. Don’t bother to call unless you have a service dog. Those always are permitted of course. You really don’t want to be where pets are not welcome, even if the landlord is desperate. Similarly, if the landlord excludes certain breeds, don’t say “My pit bull has never been a problem.” (For good advice on certain often-excluded breeds, click here for a good article.) Go somewhere else. Pit bulls, dobermans and rottweilers are much maligned breeds. They’re often the nicest dogs around because they’ve been well trained, but you don’t need to try to train a landlord.
3. If the ad for your dream apartment or house doesn’t mention pets, don’t have a long conversation with the landlord and then say “oh, by the way, I have a 50 pound dog.” It doesn’t go over well. Be upfront, and be honest about your pet’s size and breed. If at all possible, ask the landlord if you can bring the dog with you to view the rental. And make sure he’s on his best behavior. Have letters of reference at the ready – as well as a vet document showing he’s up to date on shots and has been spayed or neutered. (If a landlord insists on your cat being declawed, find a new landlord – it’s a terrible thing to do to a cat.)
4. Think about what will make your pet happy. If you have a dog, is there a good safe place to take him for a long walk? Can he look out a window and not feel cooped in? Are there other dogs to be friends with, or if he’s not the friendly type, are there other dogs that would bother him? How far is the dog park? If you have a cat, a window with an interesting view is almost a must. Cats enjoy watching the outside world more than anything else.
5. Think about what will makes other people happy. Will you be in a place where Rover’s barking will be a non-issue, or will there be frequent complaints if he barks every time someone knocks on your door? Complaints will make you an unhappy tenant and anxious to move out . . . or worse.
6. Don’t be surprised if there’s a higher rent for pet owners, and don’t complain about it. The innocent looking Sheltie in the photo ate a number of squares of a parquet floor (who knew?). I got out my checkbook. Similarly, if there isn’t a pet rent, there will be a pet deposit, refundable only if your pet has been perfect.
7. In addition to rental insurance, make sure you have liability insurance in case your pet harms someone or some other pet. Protect yourself, and make it easier on your landlord.
8. House rentals are the most important. Is there a good yard with shade? Is there a fence that can’t be easily jumped? Is there a good place to wipe off muddy paws?
9. Read the lease VERY carefully before signing. If there’s a stated pet limit or size, does your animal fit comfortably within it? If the limit is 50 pounds and you have a few goldfish, weigh the entire aquarium — it can be extremely heavy and cause major damage. What are your obligations? No matter how amiable the landlord seems now, don’t leave yourself open to eviction.
10. Above all – make sure your pet is well-behaved. If you need to do some training – do it before you rent a new space. Your pet and your landlord will thank you!
Find a pet-friendly rental in SRQrents.com! Our rentals are many and the searches are easy!