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Renting with pets

Posted by Jennifer on November 17th, 2009

Pet_Friendly_IconFinding a rental house, condo or apartment that will accept pets can be a bit of a challenge. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about finding dog and cat-friendly accommodations from “cozy” studio apartments, to lovely guest houses, luxury doorman buildings, and everything in between. It did take time and patience, but in the end I was always successfully in finding a safe and welcoming home for my entire family, including all my four-pawed kids. Read on for my tips for finding your ideal pet-friendly rental, and you’ll be happily unpacking in your new home in no time!

Where can you find pet-friendly rental listings?

1. Local animal shelters, humane societies & rescues
Some maintain printed or online listings of pet-friendly landlords, buildings, or even offer the old fashioned pushpin bulletin boards with vacancies posted.

2. Local businesses
Other places you can look for listings in person (aside from the usual real estate offices, churches, and community centers) are your local vets offices, pet boarding facilities, and pet supply stores.

3. Rental listing websites
There are also many rental listing websites that allow you to search for listings that allow dogs, cats, or both. Many are free for renters, like peoplewithpets.com, mynewplace.com, rent.com, and homewithpets.com. One site, forrent.com, includes checkboxes for  “small dogs allowed” or “large dogs allowed” but the search results will also show close matches so check the listings carefully.

4. Craigslist
For metropolitan markets and spreading into many rural communities too, the most well-known (and free) is Craigslist.org. If you can’t find a good free local website with a pet-ok search feature built in, one trick is you can use any rental listing site that allows searching by keyword. Try putting “pet” and “pets”, then “dog” or “dogs” or “cat” in the search box, you will bring up listings that say “dogs ok” or “small pet allowed.”

How to be a more attractive renter:

So, you see a listing that piques your interest, and you’re ready to email or call. If listings say “pets considered” or “pets welcome” (or even just do not say “no pets”), those of us with multiple pets, larger dogs and certain breeds of dogs may need to be very convincing that we are as good or better a tenant as a pet-less applicant. I’ve found it helps to have a bit of conversation first, establishing a rapport with the landlord/manager, and then ask them about their pet policy. Know your own skills: are you better “in person”, on the phone, or writing letters and pet resumes? If you can, when communicating with the landlord or management company about your pets and their pet policy, use your strongest skill first. That first impression can make the difference in getting their attention, and the property you desire.

If the landlord has any pet restrictions, it can help to mention that you would be willing to carry renters insurance. Farmers Insurance is one company known for its lack of breed discrimination, and offers $500,000 renter’s insurance for under $20/month.

Other reassurances that you can offer a landlord that may hesitate at first are: if your dog has passed his Canine Good Citizen test, if your previous landlords have provided a letter of reference for your pets’ good behavior, an invitation from you to them interview your friendly well-behaved pets, bringing cute pet photos with you when you first meet them, and/or offering an additional pet deposit to cover any possible damages.

Now get ready to sign on the dotted line for the pet friendly rental of your dreams!

 
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