Info Thursday

Pet Owners and Rental Properties

Do you own a dog but want to rent an apartment or condo, town home or house?

If so, it’s vital that you’re fully informed before initiating this all-important process.

Because too many dogs are either abandoned or surrendered to animal shelters, as a result of housing problems encountered by their owners.

It’s understandable that many landlords may be leery of renting their premises to dog owners. Some tenants are thoughtless and irresponsible, allowing their pets to damage property, to chew and defecate inappropriately, and/or disturb their neighbors – from barking incessantly due to separation anxiety to jumping up on them or nipping them.

It’s therefore incumbent upon YOU to prove to prospective landlords that your dog is well trained, well mannered and well socialized, and that renters like you will not only be respectful of their rental property but will illustrate, by your example, that most pet owners are both conscientious and trustworthy.

Since finding a rental property that welcomes ALL dogs regardless of breed or size can be difficult, increase your chances of success by considering the following:

Allow as much time as possible for as thorough a search as possible.

Research all “animal-friendly” listings and all “animal-savvy” realtors by placing classified ads online.

Reach out to your neighbors and co-workers, friends and family, through networking sites and social media for an even broader range of potential rentals.

Stop by the supermarkets and drug stores in your area to pick up free publications of rental opportunities and visit such web sites as and for even more listings.

Create a “canine resume” detailing your dog’s positive personality traits. Include several photos guaranteed to win hearts, list your dog’s favorite activities, food and treats, certifications if any, and a brief adoption story. You should also include a letter from the vet showing that your dog is spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccines, a letter of reference from your current or most recent landlord (if applicable), and written proof that your dog has completed a training class (if applicable).

While some landlords may advertise “no pets” or have size or breed restrictions, others may be willing to make an exception — particularly if they own pets or are pet lovers themselves. It’s worth making an inquiry over the phone and even inviting the more amenable ones to meet with you and your dog.

NEVER sign a lease that states, “no pets allowed” even if you happen to observe other pets on the premises. But most importantly, never accept the word of a realtor, manager or landlord that having one is “okay.” The only words that count are those WRITTEN in the lease. If the lease clearly states “no pets allowed”, ensure that it’s either crossed out or replaced with language approving your pet, and that all changes are initialed by both you and the landlord.

Any pet deposit or monthly fees should be specified in the lease, but before signing it, first discuss the matter with the landlord and/or renegotiate the amount.

Keep a signed copy of the lease with all of your other important documents where it can be readily retrieved if needed.

Then, once you and your cherished canine companion are happily ensconced in your new home, it remains your responsibility to reassure the landlord that he made the right choice in renting to you.

Written by Nomi Berger, a GRRMF volunteer and published author

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