Your complete guide to renting with pets
Last updated: January 1
Regardless of whether you own a dog, cat, rabbit, cockatoo or boa constrictor, you likely consider your pet part of your family. But as a renter, it can sometimes be challenging to find a place that allows animals and where both you and your pet feel safe and at ease.
If you're looking for a new place to rent with your pet, keep the following tips in mind during your search.
Allow time to find a pet-friendly rental
Since many landlords don't allow pets, it's a good idea to start looking as early as possible for a pet-friendly rental. Petfinder.com recommends starting your search at least six weeks before your current lease ends.
The Humane Society of the United States has compiled a list of websites where you can search for pet-friendly rentals in your area. You could also ask the local chapter of the Humane Society or animal care and control agency if it has a list of local pet-friendly apartments, says Petfinder.com. You may also be able to work with a local real estate professional who is familiar with pet-friendly rentals in the area.
Visit properties and review pet policies
When you find a place you're interested in, make sure you really understand what the property's pet policy is. Some places only allow small animals and cats, while others allow dogs under a certain weight limit or prohibit some breeds. Apartment Guide notes that some landlords will also require a special pet deposit.
Another thing to keep in mind is whether the rental is truly pet friendly. A pet-friendly complex may provide amenities like a small dog park, pet waste disposal stations and activities, says Apartment Guide.
It's also a good idea to visit the actual building and unit you're interested in. Is there enough room for your pet? Do the walls have adequate sound-proofing to cut down on hearing other animals (and from neighbors hearing yours)? You may also want to speak with tenants and ask them what their experiences are as pet owners in the building.
Promote yourself and your pet
The Humane Society recommends providing your prospective landlord with a "pet resume" to help show that you're a responsible pet owner. It's smart to have letters of recommendations from previous landlords and neighbors. In addition, ask your vet for documents that prove that your pet is spayed or neutered, as well as up to date on vaccinations and flea control.
Once you're ready to sign a lease, make sure the rental agreement clearly states you have permission to keep a pet. Do not sign a lease if any "no pets" language is included — make sure it is removed or crossed out before signing, says the Humane Society. Also, be sure that deposits and monthly fees are clearly stated within the lease and that you have a signed copy.
Be a conscientious pet owner
Once you and your pet have a new home, it's your responsibility to be a good tenant and neighbor, says PAWS. Keep your pet from damaging the property, and notify the landlord immediately if damage does occur. Don't let your pet roam the property unsupervised. If you have a dog, pick up after it. Ask your neighbors if your pet is making noise (barking, whining) while you're away. If your landlord or neighbor is disrupted by your pet's behavior, be open to working together to find a solution. You may also want to talk to your vet if your pet's behavior is concerning.
Renting with pets can be challenging, but with good planning and responsible pet ownership, you can make a true home for you and your furry, feathery or scaly friend.