According to a Rent.com survey of 1,000 U.S. renters, a whopping 83 percent find it difficult to find a pet-friendly apartment and 56 percent have not secured an apartment they liked because of a no-pet policy. Some landlords are reluctant to allow pets, and they have legitimate concerns: Pets can cause damage to the apartment, make too much noise, or potentially harm other renters in the building.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to show a potential landlord that your four-legged friends won’t cause any issues. Here are five tips for renters who are looking for a pet-friendly apartment:
1. Get Renters Insurance
Purchasing a renters insurance policy shows a potential landlord that you are a responsible pet parent with the means to pay for any potential damage. With the average cost of less than $16 per month, this is a small investment that can make a big impact. Only 40 percent of the renters Rent.com surveyed had renters insurance, so having a policy can really make you stand out from the crowd.
2. Create a Pet Resume
The more documentation you have to show a property manager, the better. Consider creating a pet resume to quickly show your pets’ medical care, certifications, and size and breed information. Be sure to include a few photos. Who can resist that beautiful furry face?
3. Obtain Recommendation Letters
You know that your cat isn’t going to scratch the walls and your pup isn’t going to destroy the carpet—but your potential landlord doesn’t. Ask people that regularly interact with your dog, such as a neighbor or dog walker, to write a recommendation about your pets’ behavior and demeanor. You can also ask your former landlord to write a short letter about the condition in which your apartment was left.
4. Offer to Do a Pet Interview
Ask your potential landlord to do a pet interview if he or she is still wary, so you can show them firsthand how well-mannered your pet is. Sometimes a little dog-to-face time is all it takes to win someone over.
5. Read Your Lease and Document Everything
This is the most important advice we can give you. No matter who you are renting from, make sure that your apartment lease specifies that your pet is allowed to live in the building and double-check the fine print to make sure that the breed and weight of your dog is specified and approved. You should also take time-stamped photos of your apartment and document any existing damage prior to signing the lease. You don’t want to lose your pet deposit for damage that wasn’t caused by your pets.
One last piece of advice: Never try to sneak a pet into your apartment, which 23 percent of renters have admitted to doing at least once. You could lose your security deposit, be forced to move or have to find a new home for your pet.
Niccole Schreck is a rental experience expert for Rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable pet-friendly apartment and provides tips on how to move with your pet. She is also the proud owner of two dogs, Bella and Wallace and a cat named Frisby.