Pet-Friendly Rentals: A Guide to Finding Housing

Our furry friends are more than just pets; they are family. They bring joy, love, and companionship to our lives. So, when the time comes to find a new home, it's crucial to prioritize finding...

Our furry friends are more than just pets; they are family. They bring joy, love, and companionship to our lives. So, when the time comes to find a new home, it's crucial to prioritize finding pet-friendly housing. However, it's not always an easy task. But fear not! This guide will provide you with helpful tips and insights to make the process of finding a pet-friendly rental much less stressful.

Pet-friendly rental options

The first step in your search for pet-friendly housing is deciding what type of rental suits your needs, personal preferences, and budget. You have the option of renting an apartment or a single-family home, townhome, or condo. While apartments may be more affordable, a private home with a fenced-in yard is usually a more ideal option for dog owners. Regardless of the property type, it's essential to be aware of the specific pet policies in place. Conducting an online search will provide you with numerous resources for locating properties with pet-friendly rental policies.

Even if a landlord has a strict no-pets policy, don't give up hope right away, especially if the property meets all your other requirements. Initiate a conversation with the landlord and come prepared with references for your pet, including your vet, previous landlords, and neighbors. Offering to pay an additional security deposit or allowing the landlord to meet your pet can also increase your chances of being considered as a tenant. Remember, trying to sneak your pet into the property after signing a lease is not a viable solution and will likely end badly for everyone involved.

Pit-bull-type dog lying in someone Caption: A loyal pit-bull-type dog resting peacefully.

Obstacles when searching for pet-friendly housing

Landlords have different objectives, but ultimately, they want to earn income from leasing their properties. As a result, they are selective about who they rent to in order to avoid issues such as non-payment of rent, disturbances to neighbors, and property damage. These issues often lead to eviction proceedings, which are costly and unpleasant for both landlords and tenants.

For those hoping to rent with pets, there are additional barriers to overcome. Many landlords have breed and size restrictions in place, unfairly labeling certain dog breeds, such as pit bulls, huskies, and Dobermans, as aggressive. Some landlords may even prohibit tenants from having cats. Additionally, many rental insurance companies refuse to cover pit bulls and similar-looking dogs, which may deter landlords from renting to families with such pets.

Increasing your chances of finding pet-friendly housing

Fortunately, there are several effective ways to increase your chances of finding pet-friendly housing, regardless of the type of pet you have. Here are some suggestions:

  • Start your research well in advance. As soon as you know you need to move, begin your search for pet-friendly rentals. Utilize real estate listings, classified ads, social media for advice, and websites like apartments.com, which often have filters to search for pet-friendly places.
  • Obtain renters insurance with a pet liability clause to demonstrate responsibility to landlords.
  • Create a pet resume that highlights your pet's best qualities, medical history, and references from previous landlords. This cute showcase will assure potential landlords that you are a responsible pet owner.
  • Be an advocate for your pet. Even if a landlord explicitly states "no pets allowed" or enforces breed or size restrictions, some may make exceptions if you advocate for your pet's good behavior and invite the landlord to meet them.

Cat lying on a couch next to a person holding a cell phone Caption: A cozy cat enjoying the company of its owner.

Signing a lease when renting with pets

If your landlord agrees to allow you to have a pet but the lease includes a "no pets allowed" clause, do not sign it. Instead, request your landlord to amend the lease by crossing out the "no pets" language or replacing it with specific phrasing about your pet. Both you and your landlord should initial the changes before signing. Additionally, ensure that your lease clearly states whether you are responsible for pet deposits or monthly fees.

Once you're settled in your new home, as long as your pet doesn't cause any damage or disturb others, there should be no conflicts with your landlord. However, if an unforeseen event occurs, and your landlord insists on getting rid of your pet, it's essential to take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and your pet:

  • Thoroughly read your lease to ensure your landlord is not violating any terms. Check local laws as well, as they may supersede your lease. Depending on the circumstances and local laws, you might have the right to keep your pet even if your lease forbids it.
  • Seek legal assistance if you receive notices from a co-op or condo board demanding the removal of your pet. It's crucial to understand your rights in such situations.
  • Remember, no landlord can enter your home and remove your pet without following a legal process or providing notice, except in emergencies or as specified in the lease.
  • If you face eviction or the risk of losing your pet, avoid panicking and immediately taking them to a shelter. Instead, seek help from nonprofit agencies offering low-cost or free legal assistance.

Resolving issues with your landlord regarding your pets can be stressful, but following these steps can help ensure that you and your pet can continue to stay together.

How to be a responsible renter with pets

Keeping your pet happy, healthy, and well-behaved is not only beneficial for them but also for maintaining a positive relationship with your landlord. However, even responsible pet owners may encounter problems. If your dog constantly barks while you're at work, your cat sprays indoors, or there are unpleasant odors from your apartment, your neighbors may form negative opinions about you and your pet.

The resources below can assist you in addressing common pet behavior issues, including barking, chewing, scratching, and more:

  • Cat Not Using Litter Box: Causes and Solutions
  • Cat Behavior Modification: Desensitization and Counterconditioning
  • Cat Behavior Problems? These Resources Can Help
  • How to Stop Dog Barking That's Problematic
  • Getting the Behavior You Want From Your Dog
  • Dog Bite Prevention: Managing Behavior Issues

Dog kissing the face of a person in front of a big window, with large butterflies on the wall Caption: A loving dog sharing a precious moment with its owner.

Fighting for your rights as a renter with pets

No one should be forced to separate from their beloved pets when searching for a house or apartment to rent. That's why organizations like the Best Friends Animal Society are dedicated to promoting pet-inclusive housing, where both you and your pet are welcome. This guide aims to help you plan ahead, navigate challenges, and find the right home for your family.

Advocate for pet-friendly housing and ensure that your furry family members can enjoy the comfort and safety of a loving home.

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