You may love your dog a lot and consider him part of the family, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will share your opinion, especially landlords.
Since pet ownership rate in the States is on the rise, it comes as no surprise that even 65% of all Millenials are dog owners.
So, whether your best roommate is canine or feline, you probably know that finding a new apartment sometimes is not easy.
Still, this doesn’t mean that you should despair, but it only means that you should know how to find a pet-friendly apartment. That said, here the concrete steps that can sway support your apartment hunt.
Finding A Pet-Friendly Apartment
Your dog (or dogs) may be the best canine citizen in the world, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t spend hours explaining to others how calm and harmless your dog actually is.
This is especially true when it comes to the world of landlords because, during your apartment hunt, you will cross paths with various types of people.
Some will be huge animals lover, others prefer humans only, while some might love animals, but they had a bad experience with pet-tenants. Let’s face it; not every pet owner is responsible or respectful toward other people’s property.
Luckily, since you are here reading this, you are most likely to be a responsible pet owner.
To help you find your dream place, where your pet will be welcome, we have created these seven effective steps to help you move in as soon as possible.
1. Use Online Tools
Use the benefits of the Internet to narrow down your apartment search. Nowadays, this is the fastest and easiest way to find your perfect home.
Moreover, in online adds, landlords usually note if the apartment is pet-friendly or not. This will also save you a phone bill because you won’t have to call each landlord and ask if the pets are allowed.
Filter wisely so you can choose between places that only accept pets.
This way, you won’t fall in love with the place, and later on, learn that your pet isn’t welcome. If you search good enough, you may find sites that only list pet-friendly rentals.
2. Read Up on Pet Restrictions
You spend hours and hours of searching until you find an excellent pet-friendly add, and even when you see that pet-friendly mark, don’t think that you are saved.
You still have to check pet restrictions and local regulations. You don’t want to come to the situation to sign up your lease, just to realize that Pit Bulls are not welcoming in the place, and you are proud Pit Bull owner.
That said, it’s important to note that every landlord has a different pet policy. Moreover, they can have specific rules and conditions, based on their practices, and no law can prevent that.
Here are common restrictions that you might see.
Limit on the Number of Pets
Most apartment limit residents to one, maximum of two pets.
People prefer their furniture fresh and new for years. So, to prevent any pet-related accident, they may put a pet-weight restriction on.
Many apartments do not allow dogs over 55 Ibs. If they do allow larger dog breeds, you may expect to pay for additional fees.
Aggressive Dog Breeds
If you are relocating to a new state, or another city, make sure that your dog breed is allowed in that city.
You just might be surprised how many different regulations cities might have. If some breed is allowed in the living areas, it doesn’t mean that your landlord will be pleased with your canine.
So, many landlords will not allow tenants to bring in breeds that are often defined as “aggressive.”
This restriction may vary from city to city, but here are a typical aggressive dog breeds list for apartments:
Again, the list may vary from place to place, but these are commonly restricted breeds.
Your pet may be harmless, but landlords and insurance companies might see you and your dog as risky tenants.
Present Your Pets to Landlords
If you see that your future landlord is pet-pro, but some additional persuasion is needed, you should present your dog’s treats.
Explain if your dog barks a lot or not, be honest about any potential damage, and don’t forget to mention that if anything landlords property will be safe because no one would dare to try trespassing while the dog or dogs are inside.
This should matter something, at least. Still, to easy your landlord’s worries, here is what you can do:
Ask previous landlords to write a letter of recommendation for you
Make sure that they leave their contact as well. Ask them to note just how responsible pet owner you are and how respectful you are toward the landlord’s property.
Let your landlord meet your dog
If possible, take a walk together or have a brisk house visit together.
Make sure that you share how your dog is disciplined, and he is a real people-pleaser. If you ever had some training classes, mention it.
Ask your veterinarian to help you
Having a professional backing you up can’t harm. Your veterinarian can guarantee that your dog is vaccinated.
If your dog is healthy, mention that as well, or if your dog has special needs, you should feel free to talk about it. Include documentation that your pet is vaccinated and that he receives regular veterinarian check-ups.
Create a resume of your dog
Have it all together in one place. Make sure that you induce a dog’s photo, certification, veterinarian documentation, dog schedule – especially who will take care of the dog while you are at work, and add a personal touch.
A personal story can never do harm, as long as you keep it real and short.
Explain your plans about maintaining the home.
If you have a puppy explain how you will puppy-proof your new home, have a dog sitter over when you are not home, and that you are willing to have monthly check-ups for your landlord to see that everything is alright. After all, it can’t harm to know more people, right?
Last but not least, be ready to pay extra. We will elaborate on this in the following section.
3. Be Willing To Pay Extra
You know that owning a dog requires a significant financial investment. After all, you need to provide proper nutrition, vaccines, equipment, training lessons, battle against fleas, parasites, various medical issues, veterinarian check-ups and so on.
You are probably well aware that dogs can make apartment damage here and there, and you have to fix it. Therefore, you are more than ready to pay extra for a pet-friendly apartment, right?
The answer here should be positive, because in most cases, that will be a scenario.
Experienced renters know that they should have a good insurance policy that covers dogs to help open doors for their pets.
Here is how you can use extra money to get a safe apartment for your dog:
- Offer to pay an extra security deposit.
- Offer to pay for any extra damage.
- Be ready to pay a pet fee. This fee may vary from $200 and $500. The Pet fee is always paid on top of your regular deposit.
- Be ready to pay from thoroughly cleaning every month. This can cost you from $50 to $100. This mandatory property cleaning is usually conducted by property managers, so you won’t have to think about that at least.
You should also know that the pet fee is a one-time cost that you pay only when you move in with your pet. This is nonrefundable, like a pet deposit.
4. Do You Qualify for a Service Animal?
People with disabilities often need help to go through the day. Therefore, many have animals, specifically dogs, to help them with various daily tasks.
It’s important to note that emotional or service support pets, must be accepted in any apartment, even if the leasing agreement prohibits pets explicitly.
You are not obligated to disclose your disability to the landlord. If this is the case, service animals are not subject to pet fees.
5. Choose The Right Location
Even when you do the impossible: find a perfect place that’s pet-friendly with affordable rent, your quest doesn’t stop.
Don’t sign the lease as soon as you see that the place is beautiful and that the landlord is a huge pet lover.
You need to think about your pet’s needs, and really see if the place is perfect for your dog. Take the time and research the area. Are there parks? Do you have a dog park nearby? Are parks within walking distance? Also, check if the building offers pet-friendly services such as grooming, dog walking, or even training.
Some buildings have this option, which makes a life for a dog owner much more comfortable.
Often, events for pet owners are included in these services. So, if your building is one of these buildings, and you can afford it, then you just won the main prize.
The Bottom Line
When searching for a pet-friendly apartment, be ready to invest serious time and energy.
If you want to save some time and find the perfect home for your pet, then go online and search for specialized sites for apartments with pets.
It’s also essential, to be honest when searching for your new home. Honesty is the first step toward building a great relationship.
That said, make sure that you tell the landlord the truth about your dog’s size, needs, personality, routine, and any special requirements if there are any. Also, if a lease doesn’t mention pets, it understood that you are not allowed to have them.
Still, if you like the place a lot, make sure that you call and check. This is an easy way to avoid any potential drama and nightmares down the road.
This should go without mentioning, but still – if a lease says “no pets allowed,” even if the landlord and neighbors say that’s OK, don’t sign it. This could backfire at you down the road, and create a long line of troubles. It’s better to have everything in writing.