4 Tips for Finding and Keeping Pet-Friendly Rentals | My Move

4 Tips for Finding and Keeping Pet-Friendly Rentals

Author: Leigh Peterson

Ask anyone who has ever worked or volunteered at an animal shelter what the most common reason is for people relinquishing and dropping off their pets at the shelter, and you'll get the same response: "Moving." Classified ads for pets needing a new home also abound with stories that begin, "We are moving and can't take him with us," or "Moving to a place that doesn't allow pets." Clearly, renting with pets can be a challenge.

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In fact, the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) published a study confirming that moving is indeed the number one reason dog owners cite when giving up their dog to a shelter, and the number three reason given when dropping off a cat. In the study of 12 animal shelters, owners could give up to five reasons for why they needed to abandon the pet. Other common excuses included "refusal of landlord to allow animals" and "housing rules and restrictions."

However, not only are their plenty of pet-friendly rentals available, rules are also always changing. When a rental ad says "one pet allowed" or "pets up to 30 pounds allowed," the flexibility of those rules often depend on the type of housing the ad is for.

When renting with pets, keep in mind that large apartment complexes will be stricter with their pet policies because they have to be fair to all tenants. A solo landlord renting out a house or duplex, however, has the ability to be as flexible as the prospective tenants seem trustworthy. So, to successfully rent with pets in the place of your choosing, sometimes a little due diligence is just what the vet ordered.

Submit References with Your Rental Application

You know you're an amazing pet owner. Your pets are spayed and neutered. If your dog barks, you find out why; you don't just tie it up outside. If your cat is making a mess on the carpet, you clean it up and call the vet. Now you have to convince a total stranger of this conviction.

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Did your past landlord allow pets and thank you for keeping the property clean? Can your pet sitter testify that your pets are well behaved? Ask for a letter of reference. Are your pets up to date on their shots and vet visits? Make copies of the records or ask the clinic for some. Do you volunteer at the animal shelter? Mention that too. All of this shows responsibility and maturity, qualities landlords look for in new tenants.

Let Your Pet Show Off

If your pet has been trained or knows tricks, send the prospective landlord video of your pet showing off. Consider enrolling your dog into a training class now, or inform the prospective landlord of your plans to do so and follow up with proof.

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Look into testing your dog for the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen® test, which demonstrates the dog's socialization and ability to listen. Having your pet trained as a therapy pet will also show great conviction, and volunteering with your dog can be an amazing experience for you, your dog and those he assists.

Offer to Pay More

If you ask your prospective landlord to bend the rules by allowing an extra pet, a heavier pet or one pet at all, offer to pay more before the landlord asks. You might offer a $200 pet deposit or $10 extra in rent per month. This can be a small price to pay in exchange for securing a pet-friendly rental.

Look into Dog Liability Insurance

Homeowners are often asked if they have any dogs, and what kind, when applying for homeowners insurance. Some insurance companies won't cover people if they own certain dog breeds. Unfortunately, in some states and under some instances, landlords may even be held liable for their tenants' dogs if the dog does harm to another.

Offering to obtain dog liability insurance from a company such as Einhorn Insurance or Xinsurance will let the landlord breathe easier. Likewise, if you obtain pet health insurance for your pets, it will show the landlord that you are careful with your funds and know how to prepare for the future.

Often, landlords aren't concerned about the pets themselves. They are only concerned that the owners of those pets will look after the pet properly. Show that you will, and odds will be on your side for securing pet-friendly rentals.