Renting with Pets: Tips from (at this point I should be) a Pro

IMG_2564My family of wife + husband + two dogs + two cats are about to embark on our third move in just over two years (quite a long story, with the happy ending of my husband’s PhD program and my well-paying, career-strategic job miraculously being in the same city). Since we are a such a mobile fur family, renting has been an unfortunate necessity for us! Below are some things that I’ve learn so far about renting with pets in tow.

Renting with Pets

  1. Take GREAT care of your pet. The best piece of evidence that you can provide a potential landlord that you and your pets will be great renters is a great rental and veterinary history. Give your dog enough exercise and mental stimulation so she doesn’t tear up the vinyl flooring. Get your cat to the vet regularly to head off any medical problems that may cause inappropriate elimination. Make sure everybody has enough positive human interaction, toys and activities to be healthy and happy.
  2. Find a nice person that owns a rental property. This little gem came from a dear friend. If you have more than one pet, or large dogs, or a dog that may be difficult for a property owner to insure, or an exotic pet, it’s probably best for you to skip right past ads from large property management firms or gigantic apartment complexes. Chances are, the property owner is not going to take the time to consider your individual circumstances and why you are a good renter. Instead, focus on property owners that have one or two units and provide more information that required to prove you are a great renter. Yes, this does take some trial and error if you are going primarily from Craigslist or Zillow! Ask friends or relatives for suggestions and keep at it!
  3. Make a pet resume for all your pets. A short, one-page document with your pets’ photos, veterinary history, training achievements and other charming details (age, altered status, likes/dislikes) about your furry family members can highlight just that: your pets are part of the family. Landlord don’t want to rent to pet owners that let their cats wee all over the carpet because the litter boxes are never clean or whose dog chewed all the baseboards because he never got enough exercise. If you can make the case that your pets get everything they need to be healthy and happy (because they are treated like family), a prospective landlord may be more willing to give you a shot.
  4. Take training class and get certificates. So, this may be easier for dogs: sadly, the intellectual abilities of cats are not typically advanced through organized classes. But if you have a pooch, take a few training classes and provide a certificate of completion with your rental application. This is just another piece of evidence to provide your future landlord that you are a responsible pet owner!
  5. Keep calm and keeping searching. It’s going to take some time to find a rental property that will take in your family if you have a lot of pets or unusual pets. You may encounter some unpleasantry (my choice favorites: “Can you get rid of the dogs for a year?” – where exactly would I put them?, “I would need to charge extra for the cat smell.” – my cats don’t smell, because I don’t live in filth, thanks, “Are they aggressive breeds?” – and then after I tried to explain aggressive breeds don’t exist, they hung up on me). It can be frustrating to Persevere and find the rental of your dreams! Or at least, a rental!

My next post will focus on the strategies and tips that I’ve used to making moving rentals bearable for my pets and me!


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