If renting were a sport, then renting with pets would surely be an extreme sport.
As frustrating as it is, many landlords are hesitant to let you bring an animal into their apartment, and no, puppy eyes usually don't work. Pet-owners already know how much joy an animal can bring into your life, so you must be wondering why your best bud is not welcome everywhere you are.
Try to look at it from a property owner's perspective – you never know what kind of people they have dealt with in the past, and even though irresponsible pet-owners are a minority, a couple of bad experiences always stick with you longer than a bunch of positive ones.
While you cannot force anyone to change their mind, being well-prepared and knowing a few tips and tricks can help you stack the odds in your favor.
Give yourself enough time to find a pet-friendly property
This is a process you don't want to rush. If possible, it is essential to start searching for an apartment at least two months ahead. This will give you enough time to research pet-friendly listings without putting unnecessary pressure on your pet and yourself. Moving is hectic as is, and you don't need an imaginary clock above your head reminding you that you're running out of time.
Choose the right neighborhood
Finding a pet-friendly apartment, as tricky as it is, is only the tip of the iceberg that pet owners are faced with when moving. Not all neighborhoods are created equal on the pet-friendliness scale.
Having dog parks, off-leash areas, pet supply stores, grooming salons, veterinarians, and other pet-related amenities, all within walking distance, are imperative for a stress-free daily routine with your pet.
Research the laws and policies
Depending on where you're looking to rent, different places can have different laws and regulations regarding pet-ownership.
Whether it's specific animals or dog breeds that are forbidden in certain areas or the no-pet policies of some communities, knowing your rights and obligations is essential when striving to be a good pet-owner.
When you come across an attractive listing where pets are not allowed, it might be tempting to "forget" to mention that you have a pet.
There is no scenario in which lying to your landlord about something so important would be acceptable.
If you put your cards on the table straight away and present realistic information about why you would be an excellent potential tenant, your chances of persuading them will be significantly higher, whereas lying will surely land you on the street.
Unless instructed otherwise, always bring your pet with you when touring the apartment.
Nothing breaks the stigma surrounding renters with pets like a clean, obedient, and well-behaved animal. And their cuteness can't hurt either! If you have references from previous landlords, make sure to bring them with you as they can only expedite the closing of the deal.
Create a resume for your pet
It sounds silly but creating a document that showcases general information about your pet like their breed, age, and personal characteristics, as well as proof of vaccination, training, and other certificates, implies that you are a serious and responsible owner. You can never be too detailed when providing information about your pet to a hesitant landlord.
You've finally found the pet-friendly property you were searching for, and now you must be thinking the hard part is done. Well, not exactly. There are still some things you need to pay attention to during the moving process.
Considering how merciless the housing market can be nowadays, you might need to give up some commodities to reach a compromise between your needs and abilities.
One of those commodities will most likely include the size of your apartment. Renting with pets significantly narrows down your choices. Therefore, if you're moving into a less spacious place, you need to think about ways that can help you downsize your possessions.
Whether you want to donate, rent a storage unit or consider becoming a minimalist, you will need to find a practical way to fit into your new living situation.
Double-check your contract
Before signing your lease, thoroughly discuss the details with your landlord in order to avoid any miscommunication. The property owner might require a bigger security deposit or renters’ insurance to cover any potential pet-related damage.
No matter what kind of deal you settle on, go through your rental agreement a few times to make sure you have everything in writing. This will ensure both sides are protected and satisfied.
Be there for your pet
Be attentive to your pet's wellbeing during this period. Dogs are immensely intuitive and empathic creatures, which means you will have to take some extra steps to keep them safe and happy while you move.
You can't explain to your pet that the stress is only temporary and that everything will be fine once you settle in, but you can do a few things that will help your dog get used to the process. For example, bring their favorite toys with them and make sure to designate a space of their own right away.
Hold up your end of the deal
None of the tips mentioned above will help you unless you do your best to be a responsible tenant and pet-owner. If your dog is not as well-behaved as you presented him, your neighbors will surely let your landlord know in no time.
In case you notice your dog is being destructive or barking excessively, think about whether you're giving him enough attention and exercise.
Always clean up after your dog and be mindful of apartment living rules. While your apartment doesn't have to be spotless at all times, you will have to put some extra time into cleaning as pet hair and odors can create a problem unless you take care of them regularly.
Treat the property as if it's your own, but if accidents occur, inform your landlord right away and assure them you will take care of the damage.
Renting with pets does require a bit of work; however, good behavior and respecting other people's boundaries will set an example and ensure that your pet is always welcome.