In many parts of the USA it can be difficult to find a pet-friendly rental. Many landlords have lists of breeds not welcome, and some limit the number or size of pets. While arguing with centrally mandated policies is a waste of time and energy, there are other things a family can do to find a perfect rental to accommodate even the furry family members.
The rules for giving notice and time-frames for finding somewhere to move will vary from state to state. Make sure you know what’s mandated and what’s considered good form where you live, and start looking for your new home ahead of time. You might have to call many landlords before you find the right one. Be polite, and ask about pet policies.
Questions to ask can include:
- Whether they have a ban on specific breeds or sizes
- Is there a pet security deposit? If yes, is it per pet or per rental unit, and is it refundable?
- Is there a pet fee on the rent?
Consider a private rental
Many apartment complexes have policies the on-site crew can’t change. They might also think it’s silly you can’t bring your big dog, but it’s out of their hands and arguing won’t help. It’s often easier to find an individual homeowner who wants to rent their house, and who will welcome your pets.
Check online listings – most of the larger home-search sites like Trulia and Zillow have a rental section – and keep an eye on newspaper listings. Also tell your friends on Facebook that you’re looking. Word of mouth is powerful, and someone might just know someone looking for a tenant.
Many real estate companies manage rentals for their clients, and the real estate agents might own properties they rent out. Check their websites and give them a call. They might say no, which isn’t the end of the world, or they might say yes.
If you still can’t find something, ask for help. The local humane society might know of pet-friendly landlords. Some counties also have lists, or can give suggestions.
Have all papers in order
You might need to show proof of vaccinations and vet visits. Certifications or other documentation can also help sway a hesitant landlord.
Ideas of documents to show to prove how good your doggie is include:
- Canine Good Citizen Certification
- Contest wins
- Diploma from an obedience class
- Letter of reference from your current landlord
When you go look at a rental, show pictures of your well-groomed and cute pets. If you find a place you really want but the landlord seems hesitant when it comes to your pets, ask if you can introduce them in your home. That’s a great opportunity to show how adorable and well behaved your dogs are, and how well you take care of your home.
Put everything in writing
When you’ve found the perfect place and gotten approval from your new property manager or landlord, get it in writing. Most commercial properties have a pet addendum that will be signed by both parties and added to the contract.
Last but not least, don’t give up.