Do you own a dog but want to rent an apartment or condo, town home or house?
If so, it’s vital that you’re fully informed before initiating this all-important process.
Why? Because too many dogs are either abandoned or surrendered to animal shelters as a
result of housing problems encountered by their owners.
It’s understandable that many landlords may be leery of renting their premises to dog
owners. Some tenants are thoughtless and irresponsible, allowing their pets to damage
property, to chew and defecate inappropriately, and/or disturb their neighbors – from
barking incessantly due to separation anxiety to jumping up on them or nipping them.
It’s therefore incumbent upon YOU to prove to prospective landlords that your dog is well
trained, well mannered and well socialized, and that renters like you will not only be
respectful of their rental property but will illustrate, by your example, that most pet
owners are both conscientious and trustworthy.
Since finding a rental property that welcomes ALL dogs regardless of breed or size can be
difficult, increase your chances of success by considering the following:
Allow as much time as possible for as thorough a search as possible.
Research all “animal-friendly” listings and all “animal-savvy” realtors by placing classified
Reach out to your neighbors and co-workers, friends and family, through networking sites
and social media for an even broader range of potential rentals.
Stop by the supermarkets and drug stores in your area to pick up free publications of
rental opportunities and visit such web sites as https://www.apartments.com and
https://www.rent.com for even more listings.
Create a “canine resume” detailing your dog’s positive personality traits. Include several
photos guaranteed to win hearts, list your dog’s favorite activities, food and treats,
certifications if any, and a brief adoption story. You should also include a letter from the
vet showing that your dog is spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccines, a letter of
reference from your current or most recent landlord (if applicable), and written proof that
your dog has completed a training class (if applicable).
While some landlords may advertise “no pets” or have size or breed restrictions, others
may be willing to make an exception -- particularly if they own pets or are pet lovers
themselves. It’s worth making an inquiry over the phone and even inviting the more
amenable ones to meet with you and your dog.
NEVER sign a lease that states, “no pets allowed” even if you happen to observe other pets
on the premises. But most importantly, never accept the word of a realtor, manager or
landlord that having one is “okay.” The only words that count are those WRITTEN in the
lease. If the lease clearly states “no pets allowed”, ensure that it’s either crossed out or
replaced with language approving your pet, and that all changes are initialed by both you
and the landlord.
Any pet deposit or monthly fees should be specified in the lease, but before signing it, first
discuss the matter with the landlord and/or renegotiate the amount.
Keep a signed copy of the lease with all of your other important documents where it can be
readily retrieved if needed.
Then, once you and your cherished canine companion are happily ensconced in your new
home, it remains your responsibility to reassure the landlord that he made the right choice
in renting to you.