How to Find Housing That Accepts Pets
If you are a pet owner, moving to a new place adds another dimension of stress because not all rental situations are open and accepting of pets. Ideally, you should begin your search for a new apartment before your current lease is up, as finding a pet-friendly rental can take some time. Not all pet-friendly renting is the same. Some require pet deposits and monthly pet fees, while others simply have you make a one-time payment and restrict what types of animals you can having living with you. The worst mistake is to assume a place is pet friendly only to find out that your particular breed, or species, of pet is not welcome. Additionally, you should make sure that your pet is well behaved and will not be a nuisance to your new neighbors and landlord. The following strategies for finding a pet-friendly rental can help cut down your search time by helping you make a good impression on a potential landlord.
Start Early When Searching for Pet Housing
If you start looking for a new living situation well before you actually need it, then it gives you more ability to be selective with your rental choices. It also gives you time to thoroughly read reviews of the rental, make sure that the area's amenities suit both you and your pet, and that the price of keeping your pet in the rental unit is fair. Often, a quick keyword search on pet-friendly rentals in your area will give you a great first place to start your search. Another place that can offer assistance is the local Humane society, which will likely know who in the area rents to pet owners. The ASPCA may also be a good resource.
Do Not Sneak Your Pet In
Maybe your pet is small, and you believe that you can sneak your pet in without the landlord knowing about it. This is a bad idea for many reasons. First, there is a strong possibility your landlord will find out about the pet. You could be asked to leave and will have to find another home for you and your pet. Second, no matter how well behaved your animal is, there will be telltale signs that you have an animal living with you. Either your neighbors will know, or your pet will be discovered when your landlord inspects the apartment or comes in to do routine maintenance. Since it would be a clear violation of your leasing contract, you could incur legal consequences that simply make sneaking your pet into your apartment a very poor choice.
Pet-Friendly Apartment Search Tools
There are many websites that cater to pet owners and their common need to find rentals that allow companion animals. Many of these search tools allow you to filter for type of pet, location, monthly rental fees and whether a pet deposit is required or not. Social media is also a great way to ask around and get personal recommendations from friends who know of places that accept pets. Real estate agents can also be helpful in finding pet-friendly accommodations. The benefit of working with a real estate agent is that this agent knows the area, will spend time getting to know what your needs are and will be able to cut down your search time by only offering you possible rentals that would be a good fit. Speak with your veterinarian, pet store workers, groomers or those in your doggie day care group.
Expect Some Discrimination
Certain breeds of dogs have a misguided reputation for being dangerous. If you own a Rottweiler, Doberman or pit bull terrier, for example, then you may have a hard time convincing even pet-friendly rentals to accept you. Not just large breeds experience discrimination. Some smaller breeds also find themselves on the banned list, including pugs, French bulldogs and beagles. Landlords are allowed to set the limits and terms when it comes to animals. Many landlords are not accepting of exotic animals, including certain types of reptiles.
Have All of Your Pet Documents Together
If you need to make your case for your animal being a good pet, then having all of the vaccination records, letters of reference from the vet, a former landlord and a former neighbor can be useful. If you have a certificate from an obedience class, this also lets the landlord know that you are a responsible pet owner. Lastly, arrange a pet interview where the landlord can meet your furry roommate. Often, this face-to-face meeting can be the deciding factor for most landlords. Make sure your pet is not overly enthusiastic when meeting new people, and make sure that his or her people skills are the best they can be.
Set Aside Additional Funds
You can expect to have to pay additional fees to be able to keep your pet with you in an apartment. At the very least, you will have to pay several hundred dollars as a pet deposit to hold against damages that may be caused by your pet. Other apartments will not need a pet deposit, but will, instead, charge an additional pet fee that is payable each month. Either way, you will need to save and set aside that money before you move. When you get the initial contract, do not sign it until you have read the pet clauses closely. Some apartment complexes and rental homes word the language so that any slight damage will result in a fine or loss of a deposit. Still, others will have no pet clause in the lease at all, which may give the landlord too much latitude to deny the pet after you have already moved in. Having pet-friendly clauses in the contract are essential.