With more than two-thirds of renters owning pets, more and more rentals have begun rolling out the red carpet for cats, dogs, and other companion animals. With so many property management companies eager to take advantage of the benefits of pets, it’s easier now than it has ever been to find a home suitable for you and your companions.
Even with pet-friendly housing moving toward becoming the norm rather than the exception, some property managers have been slow to adapt. Whether due to a lack of awareness of changing trends, facilities that don’t yet accommodate pets, or even just a personal dislike of animals, some property managers are still on the fence about renting to pet owners.
Fortunately, both changing attitudes and hard data are in favor of pet owners. Renters with pets have been found to be more stable tenants and to generate larger rental revenues than other renters. Even the most reluctant landlord will have a hard time rejecting the business case for accommodating pets.
Whether you’re just starting to think about finding a new place to live or are currently in the middle of your search for a new home, we’ve got the tips, tools, and strategies to help you find the perfect place for you and your pet to live.
You might be surprised at how many pet-friendly housing options are available near you. Take a look at our collection of pet-friendly places in the area to see if there isn’t already a good fit near you.
If you already live in the community in which you plan to move, a great way to find pet-friendly housing options is to ask other pet owners in the area. Friends, coworkers, and even other dog park patrons may be able to give you a heads-up on pet-friendly housing options in the area.
Maybe you’ve already found a place that meets most of your requirements but that doesn’t allow pets. Or maybe they allow pets but have restrictions on size, type, or number. Often times — especially with smaller complexes and owner-managed units — you may be able to convince management to make an exception for your case. You might be surprised at how accommodating property managers can be. After all, most aren’t opposed to the idea of pets, they’re just trying to reduce what they view to be potential risks or complications associated with pets on their property.
When applying to rent a place — pet-friendly or not — consider including a pet resumé alongside your other application materials. A pet resumé is exactly as it sounds: a document that describes your pet, their personality, their daily activities, and any training or certifications they might have. Providing a pet resumé up front can go a long way toward convincing a prospective lessor that you and your pet are a good fit for their property.
If you need help in figuring out how to set up or format your pet resumé, Mars Petcare’s Better Cities for Pets has samples you can use as a starting point.
For owners and property managers that might be on the fence about allowing pets, it is important to work with them to address their particular concerns about your pet. Giving them a chance to get to know you and your pet is a great way to do that. Just as prospective tenants are reviewed for consideration as part of the application process, consider offering management the chance to interview you and your pet face to face.
Many pet-friendly rentals include pet interviews as part of the application process. For managers who might not be familiar with the practice, offer to set up a meeting time to allow them to get to know your pet, its behavior, its temperament, and its history. Pet interviews give property managers a chance to ask questions about your pet that pertain to their specific concerns. For example, managers who are particularly concerned about noise may want to know whether your dog is prone to barking. A pet interview may include questions about your pet’s obedience training, its bite history, and its daily routines.
Pet interviews can go a long way toward putting a manager’s mind at ease. The fact that pets tend to be charming in social situations likely won’t hurt either.
It may be tempting to try to sneak a pet into a rental that isn’t pet-friendly, but you definitely do not want to do that. Not only could you be fined or evicted for violating the terms of your rental agreement, you may be placing your pets in jeopardy too. Play it safe and make sure you communicate openly with your lessor about your pets.
No matter where you and your pet end up living, make sure you get a pet agreement in writing. This may be included as part of the rental agreement or it may be a separate document. Either way, getting the terms and conditions of your pet’s presence in writing ensures both you and your lessor are clear about what is and isn’t allowed — something that will protect you and your pet should any conflicts arise in the future.
What do you suppose your dog thinks about your neighborhood? It might seem like a strange question, but there are nice places to live and there are worse places to live, whatever species we are.
The relationships we build with our animal friends are profound. Pets enrich our lives. They give us reason to exercise, to clean up, to go outside and make new friends.