If you’re a renter who owns pets, you know how challenging it is to find pet-friendly rentals, especially if you have a dog. Being a pet owner requires plenty of planning and thought before moving into a new property, but it’s definitely not easy to find a place that allows one. According to a survey, 70 percent of American own at least one pet, not to mention the rental market that’s constantly changing and banning certain breeds. As a result, housing may turn into one of the top reasons why pets are separated from their families.
Some landlords don’t make it easy for you either. Although it’s understandable how some property owners are hesitant to rent to someone with pets, there are some tips to help you find a pet-friendly rental.
Why Landlords Should Reconsider Pet Policies
Considering the cultural and societal changes in the U.S., landlords should be aware of the current market trends, especially regarding pet rental policies. While it’s true that the U.S. is ranked first for pet ownership, with 66 percent of households that own a pet, the statistics are only increasing, and there’s no sign of decreasing any time soon. Besides the number of pet owners increasing, the number of service animals in the U.S. – Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) has also experienced growth. As service animals, ESAs are managed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In the last years, some states have required tighter rules that work for both tenants and landlords. That’s why as a landlord, you’re required to follow these trends and comply with the laws. Plus, most rental communities agree that ‘’pet friendly’’ is beneficial for both the renters and the business. Currently, the top five pet-friendly cities for renters are:
- Austin, Texas – 80.8 percent
- Dallas, Texas – 78.0 percent
- Fort Worth, Texas – 77.2 percent
- Charlotte, North Carolina – 76.6 percent
- Denver, Colorado – 76.5 percent
These statistics help landlords understand the expectations of prospective renters and improve their business. After all, pets aren’t going anywhere, so might as well be less restrictive and adopt policies that allow renters to keep their pets.
How to Find the Best Rental for Your Pet
If you know how to handle an open conversation and compromise, you might find it easier to find a pet-friendly rental that allows you to keep your furry friend, while also respecting the pet policies. Here are some tips to help you with that:
Start Searching Immediately
Although it may sound too obvious, it’s essential to start your rental hunt ASAP and give yourself enough time to find a suitable rental for you and your pet. If you’re a first-time renter with a pet, you’ll need to be patient because you might have limited options. In that case, it’s best to search on trustworthy websites like Rentberry because it allows you to go through many rentals and read their descriptions. Usually, landlords put every detail on their listings, so you’ll be able to know which ones allow pets or not. The earlier you start planning, the better chance you’ll have of finding a rental that’s not only pet-friendly, but also fits your other needs. Consider your search area and the type of property you want to live in as it may affect the type of pet you own. If you have a dog, you might want to find a rental that’s big enough and close to a park. For cat owners, making sure the property has a cat flap and is away from the main road, allows you freely let your cat roam around. You can do so by filtering your search result by adding keywords like ‘’quiet’’ or ‘’park’’ to your criteria.
Make a Pet Resume
If you’ve found a rental that suits your needs but the landlord needs a bit of persuading about pets, you can start by making a pet resume. For example, you can provide them with your pet’s name, age, training, how often they exercise, and other things that make your furry friend have a positive case. Also, ensure to include your pet’s medical information, such as flea, neutering status, or last vaccination. These are excellent ways of showing your prospective landlord that your pet is healthy and not dangerous to people or other animals. If this isn’t your first time renting, you can include your former landlords’ contact information as references to prove your pet has caused no issues and was well-behaved. All of these things can reassure landlords that your pet has obedience skills and that you’re a responsible owner. Landing on a proper rental requires skill and diplomacy, so it’s essential to prepare your talking points beforehand. List your pet’s best attributes and if they’re still doubtful about it, offer solutions rather than acting unprofessional.
Get Renter’s Insurance
One of the biggest challenges pet owners face is when they move in with a Pit Bull-type dog, such as Dobermann, Rottweiler, or Shepherd. This breed is often misinterpreted as dangerous, so it may be used as a reason to not accept you as a renter. Luckily, you can get renter’s insurance – preferably one that doesn’t discriminate against breeds (like State Farm), and use it as a strategy for a landlord who doesn’t want your dog on their property. However, it’s important to note that renter’s insurance is always a good idea, regardless of the breed. It just adds an additional layer of protection in case something unpredictable happens.
Introduce Your Pet to Your Potential Landlord
If you want to prove to your prospective landlord that your pet is well-behaved, you could have them meet your pet beforehand. This way, the renter can see how your animal interacts with other people and whether they pose any risk. Having your landlord meet with your pet, especially if it’s a dog, can help them see for themselves that they don’t cause damage or disruption, and how inseparable your bond is.
Expand Your Search
If all else fails and you’ve run out of options, you can try to write to landlords who have a ‘’no pets’’ rule in their listings. However, don’t try to pressure them; instead, be ready to offer solutions and answer their concerns. Pet-friendly rentals can give you a hard time, especially if you need to stay in a certain area or are on a limited budget. The last option is to think about friends or relatives who might be willing to temporarily foster, while you continue searching.