Tomorrow is National Pit Bull Awareness Day, a day created by Bless the Bullies and dedicated to bringing positive attention to these wonderful, misunderstood dogs. (See some easy ways you can help Pit Bulls here.)
If you’re a Pit parent or interested in adopting a Pit, you may know that some rental apartments don’t allow them or other large breeds.
So I’ve compiled some tips for finding Pit-friendly rentals based on my own experience as a Pit Bull foster parent and renter, with help from For Rent: No Pit Bulls Allowed at StubbyDog.org and Renting with Your Pit Bull at BadRap.org.
1. Give yourself lots of time. Micaela Myers, author of the StubbyDog article, recommends starting your search two to three months before you have to move.
2. Don’t hide your dog. “You’re much safer if you stay honest and if you have the landlord add your dog’s name and breed to the lease,” BAD RAP says. “Landlords are more likely to evict dogs when they’re pressured by neighbors if they’re caught off guard.”
3. Ask around. Ask fellow Pit parents for leads on Pit-friendly landlords; contact local shelters and bully breed rescue groups or post on their Facebook pages. StubbyDog’s Myers suggests focusing on privately owned properties: “Private landlords are more likely to consider your pet
than commercial apartment complexes.”
4. Consider using a broker. Brokers know area properties and landlords; in the past, they’ve pointed me toward landlords with flexible pet policies or histories of working out special arrangements with tenants.
5. Post housing-wanted ads on sites such as Craigslist; be honest that you have a Pit Bull and explain why you’re a responsible pet parent and great tenant.
6. Create a resume for your Pit. BAD RAP suggests including “cute photos and letters of recommendation from your vet, neighbors and trainer to show how well-liked your dog is and responsible you are.” Some other things you might want to put in:
- Your dog’s breed (be truthful!)
- References for your dog from previous landlords and neighbors
- Evidence of training such as a basic-obedience certificate or Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) award
- Vet records showing that your dog is spayed or neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations and flea and tick preventive
- A description of arrangements you’ve made for your dog while you’re at work or on vacation
- A statement of intent if you’re looking for a long-term rental (many landlords prefer tenants who will stay for many years)
7. Get renter’s insurance that covers Pit Bulls. Many homeowners’ insurance policies don’t cover bully breeds, so renter’s insurance will ease your landlord’s concerns about liability. StubbyDog says State Farm, Farmers Insurance Group, United Services Automobile Association and Chubb Group don’t discriminate by breed (but notes: “State or local breed laws may impact coverage in certain areas”), and BAD RAP says “Nationwide Insurance Company will cover any dog that has its CGC title.”
8. Let prospective landlords meet your dog. “It’s easy to decline dog owners on the phone, but so much harder when they meet a great applicant and lovely dog in person,” BAD RAP says, adding, “Be polite no matter how they respond.”
9. Be prepared to negotiate. Ask the landlord what his or her concerns are and offer creative solutions, such as putting down an additional deposit, trying a short-term lease at first or adding an addendum to the lease spelling out your responsibilities as a pet parent.
10. Be patient. It may take several tries to find the right fit for you and your dog, but being secure in your living situation is worth it.
Tell us: Have you ever had trouble finding pet-friendly housing?
Resources for finding Pit-friendly housing:
Stubbydog.org: For Rent: No Pit Bulls Allowed
Badrap.org: Renting with Your Pit Bull
Pit Bull Rescue San Diego: Pit-Friendly Housing
Best Friends: Finding Pit Bull Housing
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