Pets are a big part of our families, plain and simple; it’s hard to think about living without them. However, it can sometimes be even harder to find a place where you and your pets can live together — especially when you’re looking to rent an apartment. Oftentimes renters can have difficulty finding pet-friendly apartments, and those with aggressive breeds can even be turned away from pet-friendly properties.
To find a home where everyone will feel welcome, there are a few things you need to know about renting with a pet.
Don’t Ignore Pet Policies
Even if your dream apartment has a “no pets” policy, it’s not worth sneaking in your furry friend plain and simple. If you bring a pet into an apartment that doesn’t allow them, you could be in breach of your rental contract and possibly evicted. When you’re searching for a new place, limit your options to those apartments that do allow pets (check out our list of pet-friendly properties), and double-check to make sure your dog isn’t on a breed restriction list.
Location, Location, Location
Once you’ve limited your options to pet-friendly apartments, take a close look at where they’re located and the features that are offered on the property. If there aren’t trails on-site, look for apartment complexes that have walking trails or grassy areas nearby. If there is a dog park on the apartment grounds, ask about maintenance and aggressive dog policies along with waste management resources like waste bags and receptacles for easy disposal of poop.
Provide References and a Resume
Many landlords ask for personal references to understand how risky a renter could be. Talk to your current landlord or neighbors and ask them to write up a quick reference about you and make sure they include information about your pet’s good behavior. You could even take things a step further and create a pet resume that shows off these references along with vaccination records, dates of flea treatments, and other information that helps put your pet in the best possible light.
Be Prepared for Fees
Properties that do accept pets often require both pet deposits and pet fees, which are two different things. Pet deposits will likely be included in the total amount of your security deposit and (depending on the complex policies) will be returned at the end of your lease if there’s no significant damage. Pet fees are non-refundable and are paid as a lump sum when you sign your lease or as a part of your monthly rent. These fees are used by your landlord to help offset any damage costs incurred by your pet.
Invest In Insurance
Many landlords will require renters with pets to carry pet-specific renter’s insurance as part of their pet-friendly policy. Even if this isn’t a requirement, it’s a smart idea to get coverage. It will protect you against liability should your pet do any damage to the property or bite or injure your neighbors.
Keep Behavior In Check
Smaller living spaces — like apartments — mean that pets have less room to burn off energy. Make sure you give your dog plenty of time to exercise; sedentary pets can get anxious and cause damage to your home. Provide your pet with plenty of toys that keep them entertained and consider what will happen when you leave. You certainly don’t want your neighbors to start complaining about barking.
Think About the First Floor
If it’s possible, get a place on the first floor. It’s much easier to take walks when you don’t have to travel down several flights of stairs or wait for an elevator going up or down when you can just step outside your door for your dog to do its business. If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, first-floor apartments mean quick access to the litter box in the great outdoors. You also won’t have to worry about your dog thumping its tail or running across the apartment and bugging the neighbors below.
Clean Up the Messes
Cats are generally easier to keep in pet-friendly apartments, but they can also cause a (literal) stink in small spaces if they use the litter box. Living in close quarters means making sure your neighbors don’t have to smell that stink so change it regularly. Also, make sure you promptly pick up any bathroom accidents on carpets to keep your place as clean and tidy as it was when you moved in so you don’t lose your pet fees or security deposit.