According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 63% of US households have a pet and approximately 50% of renters are also pet-owners. And recent statistics show that landlords who allow pets in their rental properties make more money, have fewer vacancies, and generate more applications.
Yet there are still many landlords who have a strict no-pets policy.
So what’s the deal, right? Are they bad entrepreneurs or heartless puppy-haters? Probably not.
The challenges with finding pet-friendly apartments and rentals are understandable and to some point acceptable. But the fact that housing problems put so many pets in animal shelters is utterly unacceptable.
The fact of the matter is, renting with pets, especially large dogs, is hard. You’ve got to be on your game and do a lot more work than someone without. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to help make renting with pets easier.
Understanding the Landlord
The first thing to remember is that even if a landlord has a strict ‘no-pet’ policy it doesn’t mean that they hate animals. Heck, most of them probably even have or have had a pet at one point in their lives.
The problem is that they connect your pet to possible property damage. A property they worked so hard to acquire.
The fear deep inside them is probably due to some previous negative experience or common misconception or breed stereotype. And the reality is, not all pet owners are as responsible as you are.
The reluctance of landlords to go pet-friendly is largely to do with the fact that a badly behaved pet can cause thousands of dollars in property damage. And if there’s a bite incident – well, that’s bad news for their homeowner’s insurance. The situation worsens because many insurance companies don’t cover pet damage, especially for certain breeds.
Fortunately, there are some insurers who will provide a low-cost annual pet liability insurance that covers all breeds, which can be a huge safety net for your landlord. By showing a willingness to bear the financial responsibility for your pet’s actions, you can help relieve some of their concern about the cost of potential damages.
Want to know more? Send us an email and we’ll connect you with our breed-friendly insurance partner.
Doing the Pre-Search Research
Size and breed can be huge stumbling blocks in the rental search. That’s why it’s important to do a little research and preparation before you really need to start revving up your search for the perfect pet friendly apartment. If you’re anything like me, you might be temped to put things off until the last minute, but this isn’t one of those times.
Because of the general lack of pet-friendly housing you should start your search early. And remember the you might need to be flexible about the kind of property you’re looking for. The market for pet friendly rental properties is extremely competitive.
So before it comes down to the crunch time, keep an eye out online for pet friendly apartment listings and create a list of your favorites for reference.
Also, never underestimate the power of your extended circle of family and friends. Reach out to people you know that may have already encountered similar problems with pet-friendly rentals.
And be up front with potential landlords about your pet. Let them know that the pet is socialized, house trained and exercised enough to spend most of the time home resting. Not letting your potential landlord know you have a secret pet should be out of the question.
Landlords are worried about irresponsible pet owners, so use this to your advantage and present yourself as responsible right off the bat.
A little proactive strategy I like is to create a pet resume. This document presents your pet in a way that shows organization, honesty, responsibility, and excellent communication skills, all great qualities that every landlord is looking for in a tenant.
Writing the Pet Resume
The pet resume should include basic details such as name, sex, age, breed and the general behavior of the dog. It’s a way to convince a potential landlord that the animal isn’t a nuisance, but a valuable asset.
Just like you can make your own resume shine when applying for that sweet job you’d love to get, you also need to make your pet’s resume flawless.
This is your chance to show them what a rock star Fido is. Actually, rock stars are known for trashing places so maybe not the best analogy, but you get the idea.
Besides the basic stuff, your pet’s resume or CV should provide sufficient information about: health and grooming, training background, behavioral traits, current vaccinations, and whether it is spayed or neutered. Be sure to include your veterinarian’s name, address, and phone number, as well as any other personal references.
A written pet reference letter and vaccination summary that you can attach is even better, because it shows respect for your potential landlord’s time.
The best references are, of course, previous landlords. If you’ve had positive rental experiences and can get a previous landlord to vouch for you and your pet, the reference letter will be even more valuable.
Closing the Deal on Your Apartment
Let’s say you’ve done all your homework, presented your pet resume and reference, and the landlord still isn’t fully convinced. Introducing your well-behaved pet to them might just do the trick whenever the negotiations fail. While meeting the landlord you can do two useful things.
First of all, negotiate an addendum to the agreement where your landlord’s expectations both from you and your pet will be clearly stated. Second, they might ask you to pay an additional security deposit in order to cover any possible animal-related damages in which case you should probably agree to do.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the month-to-month lease. No one should be kept hostage in a rental situation that’s not a good fit. That’s why I think that trial periods or short-term (1-3 month) rental periods are ideal to start. They’re a good way for both parties to see whether they want to pursue a long term rental agreement or yearly lease.
It’s not a bad thing if it doesn’t work out. What might have seemed good to start, might not be working out after a few months, and that’s ok. And of course, always be sure to get all the specifics of the agreement written before signing.
Congratulations, you and your beloved furry friend are finally enjoying your new digs!
Now it’s time for you to set an example as a responsible tenant. Be sure to know your community’s rules regarding walking, noise, and poop disposal.
Don’t be one of those people who doesn’t pick up after their pet! It’s part of the job. You have a baby, you change diapers. You have a pet, you pick it up with a bag. Simple.
Also remember keep your pet active and mentally stimulated enough so they don’t cause damage while you’re sleeping or away at work. If this happens by accident, immediately inform the landlord and agree to pay for the damage.
Keep your dog from excessively barking and your cats from roaming around creating litter-boxes in other people’s yards or community common areas.
By being a model pet-owner, you can make a difference in how other people with pets are perceived by landlords, and help turn the tide in favor of more pet-friendly rentals in the future.
You can’t get what you don’t ask for…
Here at Rent With Fido, we’re on a mission to save one pet at a time, one apartment at a time.
And the more exposure we get, the more good we can do. 🐱❤️🐶
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