More than half of modern families have pets. Although this is the case, it is still challenging for pet owners to find decent places to rent. Many landlords and property managers prohibit having pets in their properties. This is due to fear that they may cause damage to the property or disturb the neighbours. Prejudice gives pet-owning renters a bad name.
But, renting with a pet is possible. You may need a little bit of extra time and some patience. Here are the tips to enhance your chances of signing a lease:
Tip #1 Choose carefully
Finding the right property should never be left to luck. When looking for a new home for you and your family members, do not forget to think of your furry friend as well. Your property search should be suitable for you and your pet. Thus, keep it within certain parameters to make the best choice possible.
Tip #2 Be honest about having a pet
We recommend you to be honest about your desire to live with your furry one from the very beginning. If you’re caught sneaking in a pet, your landlord may have the right to evict you. It makes sense to introduce your pet to your landlord. This is a great opportunity to show how well behaved your pet is.
Tip #3 Show off your pet’s best qualities
Mention its name, age, tell the landlord some hilarious or cute stories about living with your pet. Some pet-owners even recommend preparing a “resume” treating tenancy like a job interview. Attach extra information such as a photo of the pet, its breed, whether it’s microchipped, vaccinated, etc. You can also get a letter from your vet showing that your pet is spayed or neutered and up-to-date on routine checkups. If your pet has attended training classes bring that documentation as well.
Tip #4 Prepare pet references
It’s reasonable for a landlord to seek assurances that their property will be treated with due care. As a pet owner, you can provide some guarantees in the form of pet references. Ask your previous landlords to provide details and context about the positive experience of having you and your pet as tenants. This way your property manager may feel more confident about letting you move in.
Tip #5 Offer to pay more
If you have a few spare dollars to pay above the listed rent, then make that clear to your property manager. The most common payments are:
- A pet deposit is usually required to cover the cost of property damage and cleaning fees. If there’s no damage at the end of the lease, then a tenant gets the deposit back. However, landlords are not obliged to refund the full sum of pet deposits due to inevitable wear and tear.
- Pet rent is a monthly payment added to the regular rent price.
- A pet fee is a one-time payment for allowing the pet into the property. It’s a nonrefundable payment.
The size of these payments may vary from state to state across the US. For example, in some states, the pet deposit amount depends on whether the rental is furnished or not. Some states consider non-refundable pet/security deposits illegal.
There are also pet owners who have a service or an emotional support animal. They can live with their pets even in rentals with a no-pet policy. Their rights are secured under the Federal Housing Act. A landlord has the right to ask for proper documentation for such animals. However, under ADA the landlord cannot ask directly what kind of disability a tenant has.
Service animals have been trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability. An owner of a service dog should have a certificate. This should be from a legitimate service dog registration organization.
For a pet to be considered an emotional support animal, it must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional. The document stating that a person has a mental health disorder and an emotional support animal alleviates these symptoms is called an ESA letter. The doctor’s license ID should be indicated in the ESA letter. An ESA letter is issued for 1 year only. After that, it must be renewed to have legal power.
Tip #6 commit to cleanliness
Take responsibility for your pet’s actions and offer to remove all traces after your pet. You can also pay to a cleaning service to get rid of any pest infestations caused by your pet. What is most important here is to prove to your landlord that you’re committed to cleaning the property.
Tip #7 Propose a trial period
You can discuss the possibility of leasing the property an a trial basis. This should be only if the landlord or property manager is not completely convinced. This way they can observe how the animal behaves and gets along in the space. It will also enable you to adjust the lease as required. This decreases risks for property owners. It also gives you time to understand if the rental fits you and your pet before signing a lease.
Tip #8 Get agreements in writing
If you and your landlord are both satisfied with the terms of your negotiations, get them in writing. In this case, if any confusion or disputes arise, everyone can refer to those documents. As they say anything in the lease is legally binding, also anything not in the lease is legally binding as well. Before signing, make sure all the terms that were discussed are clear to both sides.
Tip #9 Be attentive when signing the lease
It’s extremely important to read every detail of your lease. This goes for everyone, not only pet-owners. Pay special attention to a “no pets” section. Often the landlord or manager might be inattentive and neglect this aspect of the lease. Keep in mind that the lease is a legally binding document. Once both parties have signed it, they have to abide by it. Pay attention to what you sign as a renter with pets.
Tip #10 Make moving day stress free for your pet
Last, but not least. The moving-in day is stressful for your pet. It’s important to think of ways you can make this day less stressful for you and your furry one. Keep your pet’s toys, water bowls, accessories, etc., so that they can feel like home. And give your pet time. We all need time to adjust.