One of the top three reasons pet owners tell shelters they are giving up their pet is because of “moving” or “landlord” – but with some extra flexibility and knowledge about how to find a pet-friendly rental, or negotiating with your landlord, it doesn’t have to be that way! It is true that finding a rental apartment or house when you have pets can take extra time, patience, flexibility and effort, but isn’t keeping your pets worth it? Here are some tips for finding your ideal pet-friendly rental so you and your furry family can stay together.
While sometimes life catches us by surprise with a sudden relocation, the more time you have to plan ahead, the more likely you’ll be able to find your ideal pet-friendly rental.
If you do have to move unexpectedly, finding a short-term rental that is smaller or bigger, more expensive, or in a different area than you ideally want to live long-term can give you the extra time you need to find your ideal rental. Some residential hotels offer apartment-like suites that allow pets, so consider those in your temporary rental search too.
Be a more attractive tenant
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. Even if you’re unable to find a suitable rental that advertises itself as “pet-friendly” sometimes rentals that don’t say “no pets” may have some flexibility. Go see the property and talk to the landlord/manager, 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.
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.
Here are links to some sample pet resumes on other websites:
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 many rental listing websites that allow you to search for listings (often using filters) that allow dogs, cats, or both. Many are free for renters, like Peoplewithpets.com, Zillow.com, and Trulia.com.
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.”
Now get ready to sign on the dotted line for the pet friendly rental of your dreams!