Tips for finding Pet-friendly Housing
When searching for pet-friendly housing you must understand why many landlords and property managers reject pets. Put yourself in the shoes of a landlord, housing manager, property owner or condominium association for a moment: They may have had bad experiences with irresponsible pet owners who didn’t safely confine their animals or pick up their feces, sneaked pets in, or left ruined carpets and drapes when they moved out. They may be worried about complaints from neighbours about barking dogs and wonder how they are going to deal effectively with pet owners if problems arise. You must understand that these concerns are legitimate.
Contact the humane society or animal care and control agency serving the area into which you are moving; the agency may be able to provide you with a list of apartment communities that allow pets. If you know any real estate agents, rental agents, or property managers who own pets themselves or who share your love of animals, ask them for leads. While there is no substitute for making a professional connection with someone who understands how important your pet is to you, look for a community apartment guidebook at the supermarket or near newspaper distribution boxes on the street. The guide may indicate which apartment communities allow pets and may list any restrictions, such as breeds allowed or weight limits.
Don’t push it
Recognize that it may be ineffective to try to sell yourself and your pet to a large rental community with a no-pets policy. You’re more likely to be successful if you focus on places that allow pets or allow certain pets (for example, cats or dogs weighing less than 20 pounds), or that don’t say, “Sorry, no pets.” Individual home and condominium owners may be easiest to persuade. It is more ideal to look out for a community with appropriate pet-keeping guidelines that specify resident obligations. That’s the kind of place that’s ideal for pet owners because you’ll know that other pet caregivers there are also committed to being responsible residents.
Prove your responsibility
To get the best shot at being approved for pet-friendly housing, you will need to get proof of your responsibility, most of which will be written. These documents could include:
- A letter of reference from your current landlord or condominium association verifying that you are a responsible pet owner.
- Written proof that your dog has completed a training class or is enrolled in one.
- A letter from your veterinarian stating that you have been diligent in your pet’s medical care.
Appeal to the highest level of authority
Ensure you make your request to the individual or group with the ultimate authority to grant your request. Usually this will be the owner of the house or apartment. The owner may, however, delegate the decision to a property manager or resident manager. Check to see if, in addition to obtaining the landlord’s approval, you must also submit a written request to the building’s board of directors (or association, in the case of a condominium community).
You must make your intentions clear that you share concerns about cleanliness. Clarify that your pet is housetrained or litter-box trained. Emphasize that you always clean up after your dog outdoors and that you always properly dispose of your pet’s waste.
Responsible pet owners make excellent residents. Because they must search harder for a place to live, pet caregivers are more likely to stay put. Lower vacancy rates mean lower costs and fewer headaches for landlords and real estate agents. Let prospective landlords and managers know that you understand that living with a companion animal is a privilege, not a right.
Promote your pet
Offer to bring your pet to meet the owner or property manager, or invite the landlord to visit you and your pet in your current home. If you can’t arrange for a meeting, consider making a pet resume with photos of your pampered pet in his or her current home.
Get it in writing
Once you have been given permission by a landlord, manager, or condominium committee to have a pet, be sure to get it in writing. This is very important; a verbal promise won’t cut it. If the apartment initially has a no-pet clause, ensured it is crossed out of your contract and all of the affected parties append their signatures. If you are required to pay any pet-related fee, ensure it is clearly stated at this point before you append your signatures. Request a copy of any house rules pertaining to pets.
You really don’t want to sneak your pet in without your landlord approval. Not only are you setting yourself up for possible eviction or other legal action, you are also reinforcing the landlord’s inclination not to allow pets.
Finding pet-friendly housing can be a headache, but when you finally find the perfect place to call home and you are snuggling with your best friend, it will all be worth it.