So, you want to live somewhere with your best friend: the hairy, slobbery one who pees outside. (Hopefully we are both talking about your pet.) Renting with pets can be difficult as many property owners/managers worry about the damage that a pet can cause to their property and don’t want the extra liability. But while pet owners can expect to pay extra fees, don’t give up on finding the best home for you and your creature companion.
The kind of pet you have matters. Most property owners don’t mind small animals like gerbils, hamsters or lizards, as long as you keep their cage clean and fresh. Not all small animals are welcome though, as birds can be very noisy and disruptive to neighbors. Property owners may also be wary of large fish tanks, as a breakage can cause major damage to the home.
Ahhh, the age old question of which pet is better: cats or dogs? In this instance, cats win. Most property owners believe that cats aren't as destructive as dogs. Dogs have a reputation for chewing on baseboards, scratching wood floors and barking noisily. Most dogs need more space than cats to go on walks and run around, and some larger dog breeds are straight-up banned from high-rise complexes. Dog breeds that are considered to be aggressive like pit bulls, dobermans and rottweilers may also be banned from the property.
To combat the bad press, some dog owners create a “doggy resume” highlighting their pup’s good behavior. A doggy resume might convince the property manager that your dog is cute, well behaved and has a good track record. When creating a pet resume, include references with phone numbers of a previous landlord, a vet or another person who can vouch for your pet. Add your pet’s name, age and breed. Adorable photos of your dog in a Yoda Halloween costume will go a long way here.
Rental platforms are the way to find apartments these days and there are plenty of fish in the sea. But instead of looking through thousands of listings, use the advanced search filters to save time. Most platforms will let you select a Pets category for your search.
No luck online? Next time you are at the dog park or the pet store, ask your fellow animal lover how they found a place to live. They may have insider info like a community forum or pet-friendly apartment complex. We aren't telling you to move in with the first stranger you meet who also has a mastiff, just that other dog owners might have the down-low on a rental with a big yard.
After you find a potential home, It's best to let the cat out of the bag and ask upfront if the rental accepts pets. From there, ask questions like:
Even if your future property manager verbally agrees to a pet, read the fine print. You don’t want to be surprised by a rule or fee after you’ve signed the lease. Check through the entire agreement and make sure that you understand and agree to all rules about pets. If the rules are too much for you, don’t sign the lease. Don’t agree to anything that you don't actually want or can’t do.
Most, if not all, property owners will require an extra fee for your pet. This can be a non-refundable deposit that you pay upfront, a monthly fee added to your rent, or a cleaning fee when you move out. Bottom line: Pet owners pay more. But don't be afraid to negotiate pet fees with your future property manager. Maybe they can budge a little on the pet deposit because of your great pet references, or maybe you will agree to keep up on deep cleaning and deodorizing instead of a cleaning fee.
If you are already locked into a contract, you can still negotiate pet fees if you show that you and your pets are responsible tenants. A new lease with the amended terms should be written up and signed by both parties.
It doesn't hurt to ask if a property owner is open to a furry tenant. But if they say no, move on. Trying to sneak your pet into a rental is grounds for eviction, which will cost you a lot more money and time in the long run. Hiding the fact that your pet is living in the apartment is also stressful for you and them. Best to find a place that accepts both of you outright so you can avoid legal woes and pet distress.
Find a pet-friendly home to rent on KSL Homes with search filters. Under All Filters, select Cats Allowed or Dogs Allowed. You’ll be taking a cat nap in your new place in no time.
Looking for a new furry friend to join you in your pet-friendly dwelling? Visit KSL Classifieds to find your next pet!