A recent search for a pet-friendly rental on Apartments.com yielded tons of results – and that’s just in (and around) San Antonio! That’s great news for a pet owner, especially because landlords and property management organizations are generally perceived as “anti-pet”.
With potential for significant damage, disruption and conflict, what can prospective renters do to win over landlords or management companies?
Let’s Stay Together
Many landlords are understandably cautious when it comes to renting apartments or houses to people with pets. However, irresponsible pet owners are definitely exceptions to the rule. In other words, people that care for pets are among the most thoughtful and respectful folks out there!
The fact is, more than 70% of all renters own pets. With this in mind, negotiations between renters and owners are not impossible. But how can renters help their pets get approved to live in a rental unit?
- Do the research – If you have enough time, it’s critical to exhaust all possible options for you and your pet. Post to social media platforms, reach out to other pet owners that rent, and keep your mind open. Most rental websites have search criteria for cats and dogs.
- Be honest – Some landlords have restrictions on species, breeds, sizes, and ages. It’s a good idea to be upfront and honest about your pet’s qualities. While it may be easy to stretch the truth about a pet’s weight and breed, we advise against it. Also, a sure-fire way to get kicked out of a rental is to lie about not having a pet. If you move in anyway, you’ll have to keep your pet’s presence a secret from other tenants that are following the rules, only to possibly be reported down the road.
- Be Prepared – Landlords aren’t legally required to accept pets unless they are service or emotional support animals. If you are granted access, don’t sign a lease that clearly stipulates no pets. Be prepared to pay a non-refundable pet deposit or monthly rental fee just for your pet.
- Show your best self – Experts recommend putting together a resume for your pet that shows how great they are. Include pictures and a list of achievements/skills, such as completion of training programs. You could also include a list of references of people/professionals that know you and your pet, and proof of up-to-date vaccinations, parasite prevention medication, and general health.
- Schedule a meet and greet – One of the best ways to assuage any doubts or fears pertaining to renting to pets is to schedule a meeting. That way, landlords or management representatives can make their own judgements about the personality and disposition of the pets in question. Show them how well-behaved your pet is, and give them a chance to positively interact with your best friend.
Moving Into a Pet-Friendly Rental
Once you gain approval for a pet-friendly rental, there’s still work to do to ensure that the property remains in great shape. Always be sure that your pet has daily opportunities for mental and physical exertion. Hire a dog walker or pet sitter if you plan on being away for many hours in the day, and be extra-neighborly to those around you.
If you currently live in a no-pets unit and you want to adopt, consider a conversation with your landlord to express your desire. If you are a good tenant, they may work toward a solution that fits everyone’s needs.