It's moving time! You and your pet need to find a new home. Before you begin your search for a pet-friendly apartment, take a few steps to make your pet and yourself appealing to your future landlord.
First, give yourself plenty of time to find an apartment that works for you. Consider looking at smaller complexes or those that are independently owned. Larger apartment complexes with multiple units may have blanket rules against pets, but smaller buildings with fewer units may be more willing to work with pet-owning tenants on a case-by-case basis.
Before contacting a potential landlord, gather paperwork that shows why your pet would make a good tenant, including:
- Veterinary records that show your pet is spayed or neutered and is up-to-date on all vaccinations.
- Training certificates from behavior training courses.
- Any appropriate pet licenses or proof of vaccination that is required by the county or city in which you live.
- Letters of recommendation from former landlords, citing that your pet was not destructive or disruptive.
You also may want to create a "resume" for your pet, listing the traits and behaviors a landlord would find appealing. A cat's resume, for example, may point out that the kitty is declawed so he won't scratch furniture, and is an indoor-only cat, so he won't bring in fleas from outside. A dog's resume could note that the dog is crate-trained and has been house-trained, too.
Keep in mind that some pet-friendly apartments may have restrictions against certain breeds. When beginning your pet-friendly apartment search, it may be helpful to do an internet search with key words such as "pet friendly apartments without breed restrictions" along with your city and state. Many local humane societies maintain databases of apartment complexes that accept all dog breeds.
You can further improve your chances of finding a pet-friendly apartment by offering to introduce your pet to your potential landlord. Bring your pet's resume to this face-to-face meeting, and make sure your pet looks its best. Consider having your dog professionally groomed so he looks and smells wonderful. Brush your cat to remove stray hair. Show your potential landlord your dog's good manners by asking your pet to Sit, Stay, Shake, or do any other tricks he knows.
Alleviate your potential landlord's worries by explaining the steps you plan to take to ensure your pet will be a good tenant. Offer suggestions to ensure the pet will not cause damage. For example, offer to rent a carpeted unit instead of one with wood floors so your dog's claws will not scratch the wood. Mention that you plan to keep your dog on leash on all outdoor walks around the apartment complex, and that you understand the importance of cleaning up after your pet.
Finally, if you believe your potential landlord is almost convinced, consider offering to pay a pet deposit up front, and outline the steps you will take to clean the apartment in the event you must move out. If your landlord agrees to your suggestions and verbally agrees to let you move in with your pet, ask him to put the terms in writing. Such an agreement will protect both of you and help prevent misunderstandings.
Enjoy your new pet-friendly home with your pet!