By Niccole Schreck – Rent.com
As a renter with dogs, you probably know that there is a big difference between pet friendly and pet tolerant. If you’re having trouble finding a dog-friendly apartment, you’re not alone. In fact, 83 percent of renters have had difficulty finding a pet-friendly apartment, according to a Rent.com survey.
One thing that can help you land a rental is a pet resume. Even your pup can show off his qualifications on paper, with your help, of course! Creating and using a pet resume will give your potential landlords all of the information they need to prove you and your pet are great tenants.
Before you start apartment hunting, sit down and write up a business-worthy resume for your dog. Here are all the elements you should include on the document and how to make it a compelling one:
Basic Introduction: Heading
Like your professional resume, the basic information goes right at the top of the page. You should include your pet’s name, age, breed, sex and spay/neuter status. Tell the landlord whether your pet went through a professional training program. Additionally, include your name (listed as “owner’s name”) and phone number somewhere on this heading.
Having all the information right up front in an easy-to-read format allows the landlord to pick up the basics quickly—he or she won’t want to have to dig through the resume to learn about your pet.
The next section of the pet resume can be written in short paragraph form and should include information regarding your animal’s behavior. Does Fido spend most of the day relaxing, or is he a bit more rambunctious?
Be honest about how your animal acts—you don’t want to promise one thing and have your landlord discover another. You can also stick in information about training and toys. For instance, you might say “Fido is house-trained and likes to chew on his toys.” This tells the landlord that you take your dog outside to use the bathroom and that he won’t chew up furniture.
Think of this section as a bio. It can be creative, but it should get right to the point. Some questions to answer in the description may include:
- How energetic is my dog?
- How vocal is he? Does he bark a lot?
- Is he housebroken?
- How does he act around strangers and other dogs?
- Does he run around inside or prefer to expend energy outdoors?
Health and Grooming
Most landlords offer dog-friendly apartments to those whose pet is clean and healthy. He or she doesn’t want you spreading ticks and fleas to other units, after all. Therefore, you should devote a portion of your pet resume to health and grooming. Include the following:
- How often you groom your dog both professionally and at home.
- What preventative measures you use for fleas and ticks (name the product and when you apply it).
- Note whether your dog is up to date on vaccinations.
- How often you take your dog to the veterinarian for check-ups.
About the Owner
Now that you’ve thoroughly introduced your dog, you can say a bit about yourself as a dog owner. This is not a time to talk about how you are as a tenant, but specifically as a renter who has a pet.
Include information on how you arrange for care when you’re out of town. Express that you’re responsible in caring for your animal. You can even offer an extra pet security deposit as a sign of your confidence in your pet’s good behavior. If you are a member of a pet-owners society of some sort, talk about that as well. This section doesn’t have to be long; it just needs to show that you are a responsible pet parent.
This section says “I showed you how awesome I am at caring for my animal and being a respectful tenant. However, if you don’t believe me, you can call these people.” The references section should include the phone number of a former landlord. You may also offer the number of an old neighbor.
If your dog has had training, you can also give the number of the facility. Furthermore, consider adding your veteriarian’s phone number. End this section with “See attached documents,” in which case you can staple or paper clip relevant paperwork (i.e., spay/neuter records, training certificates, veterinarian records).
While all this sounds like a lot of information, you can (and should) fit it all on a single sheet of paper. On the bottom of the page, note that you’d be willing to set up a meet and greet between the landlord and your dog. Most importantly, don’t forget to include a photo!
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.