Renting a home with pets

Household 3 min read

Many pet parents consider their pets part of the family. Pets can bring joy to your life but having a pet can create a challenge when you want to move to a new home. There are several factors to consider when renting with pets in order to find a place to live or wish to add a pet to your family.

Tips for renting with pets

Research pet-friendly rentals

If you’re an existing pet owner looking for a new rental, take your time researching when you are renting with pets. You want to ensure you find the right fit for your entire family — both the two-legged and four-legged members. Search specifically for animal-friendly listings, and don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, and members of your social media circles to keep their eyes peeled for a good fit.

When you use a website to find rental apartments, many will have a filter for whether pets are accepted, which typically includes cats and dogs. If you have other types of pets, you’ll want to talk with the prospective property manager about their pet policy for apartments and what types of pets they allow in the rental. Learn more about what questions to ask when renting.

Several apartment rental search websites have “pet-friendly” filters, such as:

  • Apartment Advisor
  • Hotpads
  • People with Pets
  • Rent Lingo
  • Zillow

Learn more tips for apartment living with pets and learn how renters insurance covers pets.

Prepare pet information

Create a list of information about your pet. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends that you include the following information about your pet:

  • Pet’s name
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Weight
  • Proof of vaccinations
  • Disclosure of any accidents

Also include a photo and any proof of training they’ve received.

Provide references for your pet

A letter of reference from your current landlord would be ideal. Also, include a letter from your vet showing that your pet is current on their vaccinations to alleviate any concerns.

Disclose pet ownership to your landlord

Keeping a pet in your rental home without disclosing the pet’s presence to the landlord is never a good idea. Instead, discuss the issue with your current or prospective landlord. If the conversation with the landlord goes well and your pet has positive references from your previous landlord, you might convince them to have a change of heart.

Be prepared and willing to pay an additional pet deposit, assuming it’s for a reasonable amount. This can vary from state to state, but is generally in the $250 to $500 range, according to Zillow.

Review your lease and rental agreement

Once you’ve found the perfect place to hang your hat (and leash), don’t forget to read your new lease thoroughly before signing. Is there a pet policy rental agreement included? Never sign a lease that says, “no pets,” regardless of what the landlord has said verbally. Additionally, make sure the lease clearly spells out pet deposits or fees, and don’t forget to keep a signed copy for yourself. Although most landlords are trustworthy, you don’t want to take that for granted and end up in a difficult situation.

Considerations for bringing a new pet home to your rental

If you have no desire to move out of your place but would like to adopt an animal, thoroughly read your lease agreement to ensure it’s allowed. If it is, or if it’s not specifically forbidden, check with your landlord to see if there are any restrictions on the type of animal (i.e., cats only) or breed (i.e., small dogs only), and if you’ll need to pay an additional security deposit.

Once you’ve cleared your new pet with your landlord, ask them to provide an updated lease that reflects the new resident and any associated fees. In addition, consider the benefits of pet insurance as you consider adoption and rental pet policies.

Before you commit to adopting a rescue dog, consider the size of your current home. Apartments and small houses with small or no yards are better suited to cats and mature dogs or small, less active dogs, whereas larger houses with yards or access to nearby parks are conducive to puppies who must be potty trained and larger, more active dogs. The amount of outdoor space is an essential consideration when renting with pets.

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