Having to move out is a tedious task in and of itself. However, finding a new place to call home with loyal furry companions at your side can prove even more challenging.
If you are one of the many pet owners on the fence regarding renting or leasing an apartment advertised as pet-friendly, you will want to continue reading. We have highlighted the relevant details you should look out for, so let us get started.
The ABCs of finding the next haven for your pets
While some landlords like to attach a “pet-friendly” sticker to their advertisements without much forethought, you are better off not entertaining any ambiguous information in general practice. To that end, we hope that the following list will help direct your energy into making the right decision for the sake of your pets before renting or leasing a new apartment.
1. Strive for a thorough (re)search
Making a hasty or ad-hoc rental decision can prove detrimental to your pet. Take the time to research all the relevant information about your desired accommodation. This also includes the types of pets allowed and their respective sizes.
To emphasize, even though roughly 50% of the households in the U.S. have pets on their premises, Zillow Consumer Housing Trends Report from 2018 stated that the average application rate for rentals that included pets was 1.6 times larger than the application rate for rentals that did not. In other words, starting an early search to avoid any unpleasant outcomes is advised.
2. Use a word-of-mouth approach
If you are in the area, ask around. Your dream apartment may look picture-perfect on paper or the website, but what about real life?
Strike a conversation or two with local pet owners or rescuers to glean hands-on information about the local animal community. Additionally, pet supply stores and animal shelters can give you a better insight into what to expect when relocating to that area.
3. Double-check the approved breeds
Although this may come as a surprise, you should look into the prohibited breeds if your furry companion happens to be a dog. If you think that rental and lease agreements would red-flag only those breeds known for their aggressive behavior — you are mistaken. As a matter of fact, the list goes beyond and includes Akitas, Shiba Inus, Chow Chows, German Shepherds, and Siberian Huskies, to name just a few.
4. Be ready to pay extra and negotiate
Your new contractor will expect you to pay pet fees or even a pet deposit. While the pet fees add to your monthly rent, a pet deposit serves as an extension to your security deposit and may be eligible for a refund once the lease is terminated.
If you can get creative and cash out a higher pet deposit upfront, your landlord could be open to negotiating a lower monthly pet fee.
5. Be ready to talk openly about your plans
You may be planning on introducing a new pet to your family at some point in the future. If that is the case, keep in mind that you should first consult with your landlord.
Even if it does not seem like something worth mentioning in an established pet-friendly environment, failing to disclose a new pet can lead to a breach of your contract. In other words, you could be fined, asked to part ways with your new pet, or ultimately — evicted.
What to address before sealing the deal
Once you have conducted your research and are comfortable signing a rental or lease contract, you will want to prevent any potential discrepancies between the verbal and the written parts of your agreement. For this reason, paying attention to the fine print is important — even more so with apartment pet policies. As such, you should consider addressing the following with your contractor:
- Concise pet guidelines
- Causes for eviction and fees if pet guidelines are breached
- Off-limits areas for pets
- Off-leash areas for dogs
- Proprietary outdoor litter areas for dogs
Keep in mind that having all the rules explicitly stated in black and white is beneficial for all parties involved. This way, you will have a clear list of dos and don’ts before settling in with your pets. Moreover, you, your pets, and your landlord will remain legally protected throughout the extent of your contract.
A well-behaved pet is a welcome pet
All things considered, many landlords do not have mixed feelings about pets on their property without a good reason. They have either heard horror stories or had negative past experiences with tenants who have let their unruly pets run loose. After all, having your property destroyed or receiving constant complaints regarding your tenant’s pet behavior is not a pleasant recurring theme.
However, it is good to know that such tenants are few and far between. With the vast majority of pet owners abiding by the rules and respecting the rental property, landlords’ minds can easily change. Better yet, you can contribute to this cause too!
Even though some landlords are faster to melt at the sight of the loveliness embodied in the form of your furry companion, others may need additional convincing. You would do well to organize an in-person meeting with your future landlord so that they could get to know your pet better. Chances are, they will be more lenient or even lift some of their pet-related restrictions!
Furthermore, creating a personalized pet resume can attest to your pet’s good behavior. Along with letters of reference from your past landlord(s), relevant veterinary letters, and training certification(s), your furry companion is going to woo even the nit-pickiest of landlords.