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Inventive Renter: Renting with Pets FAQs

Filed Under: pets

It can be tough to find rental housing where pets are welcomed. Expensive, too, once you factor in pet deposits. Let's look at top FAQs for finding & keeping awesome pet-friendly rental accommodations.

How do I find an apartment that allows my dogs, too?
Sometimes it seems like every rental ad out there blares "no dogs!" or "no pets!" In fact, the renting world's a lot more pet-friendly than it used to be. Approach your search with a glass-half-full attitude and it won't seem so daunting.

Your best bet is to look for large pet-friendly apartment complexes. Not only are dogs and cats welcomed at these places, but your neighbors are likely to look more kindly upon Bowser's occasional fit of barking.

When a listing says no-pets or does not mention a pet policy, should I even bother calling?
If you really want the place, sure. Why not? Call and don't hesitate to give a brief sales pitch on behalf of your dogs/cats. Let your prospective landlord know it if your pets are stable, social, gentle, house-trained, and they rarely bark.

Will your previous landlord or housing manager or your vet write a letter of reference, confirming all this good stuff about your pooches? Go for it! The worst that can happen is you will be turned down. But don't be a pain in the neck about it. If you call and they say "no pets" please accept it with dignity.

Can I Use the Internet in my Search?
Absolutely, yes. Go online and search housing listings using keywords like "pet-friendly apartments" or "pets welcome."

A top Web resource that you should check out is People with Pets. This site allows you to search pet-friendly rental accommodations all over the US – for free.

Also, the Humane Society has terrific Web resources for pet owners and landlords, alike. Not only does the HSUS explain how you can find pet-friendly housing, it also provides tons of info for property owners and rental managers on how to go about making their housing pet-friendly. Just go to the HSUS "Renting with Pets" page.

Help! I really want to get a dog but my landlord doesn't allow pets.
First, is there any wiggle room in your landlord's no-animals policy? It's possible he/she might make an exception for certain pets. For example, you might be able to find a rescue dog to adopt that is small, older in years, spayed or neutered, vaccinated and already housetrained.

Perhaps a five year old cat might be okay where a furniture-chewing Lab puppy would not. Alternatively, you might be allowed to keep some small pet/s other than a dog or cat.

No luck? Give in, graciously. Don't let your landlord's refusal to allow pets sour your landlord-tenant relationship. When your lease is up, you can always move to pet-friendly digs.

My new landlord doesn't allow pets. Think I could just move in anyway and hope he doesn't notice my dog?
Do not under any circumstances sneak a dog or other pet into your home against the rules. I know this happens all the time, but it is a very risky choice. Your pet could end up at on death-row at the pound if your landlord finds out and banishes him/her. Please, don't risk it.

My neighbor doesn't like my dogs. I think she's going to complain to my landlord. What can I do?
You can salvage this situation if you act swiftly. Whether you rent or own, there's always a chance you'll have neighbors who don't like dogs ... or maybe just your dogs. The solution is always the same: be real nice to your neighbor! Get over there and talk about it with her. Let her air her complaints and listen politely.

Above all else, be fair: are the concerns legitimate? Is your dog barking, for example? If so, don't expect your neighbor to just put up with it. Try giving your dog extra exercise and chew toys. Can you afford a pet sitter to come in halfway through the work day? You may have to resort to crating or confining the dog for all or part of the day. Finally, a bark collar is a very effective solution for dealing with habitual barkers.

Basically, do whatever you can to avoid complaints reaching your landlord or housing manager's ear. Just in case it does go that far, keep notes about your neighbor's complaint/s. Write down the date or dates when they occurred and detail how your addressed the issues each time. This will be invaluable if you ever have to defend yourself against a formal complaint.


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