10 Essential Tips for Finding a Pet-Friendly Apartment

Your pet is a member of the family. As a result, you want to ensure they’ll be safe in any property you buy. These tips will help you to answer the question “how do I find pet friendly apartments?”

Renting offers you all sorts of advantages. For one, you aren’t tied into the long-term commitment that a mortgage requires. As a result, you have more flexibility in terms of where you live, and how long you live there. You’ll also find that your rent payments cover essential maintenance that would otherwise have cost you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

That’s all great, but pet owners often run into problems when trying to rent. Many landlords and property managers refuse to allow tenants to bring pets into their properties. There are several reasons for this, chief among them a desire to protect the property from the damage pets might cause.

As a pet owner, you may find yourself asking the question “how do I find pet friendly apartments?” It can seem almost impossible at times, but it is doable. These ten tips will help you to narrow down your search, so you find the perfect apartment for you and your pets.

Tip #1 – Start Your Search Early

As mentioned, the question of “how do I find pet friendly apartments?” isn’t always an easy one to answer. The fact is that most properties that you look at will not allow pets. As a result, you’ll spend more time than the average tenant on your search.

This means you need to start searching as soon as possible, especially if you’re currently renting. Leaving things until you’re a week or two away from the end of your lease could cause problems. If you don’t find a pet friendly apartment in that time, you may have to pay to place your pet in a kennel, or similar facility.

Give yourself at least six weeks to conduct your search. This time will allow you to check as many different properties as you can, and it relieves the pressure you face when trying to find a pet friendly apartment. Instead of rushing into the first apartment that allows pets, this extra time will allow you to find a home that meets your needs.

Tip #2 – Don’t be Afraid to Ask

During your search, you may find a lot of apartments that don’t provide an answer one way or the other regarding whether they allow pets. Many tenants make the mistake of assuming these landlords don’t accept pets. If they did, they’d mention it. After all, pet-friendly apartments are in high demand.

However, sometimes, a landlord doesn’t think about mentioning pets in their ads. As a result, you should ask the question. Get in touch with the landlord and discuss your pet. You may find that the landlord is perfectly fine with your furry companion. And if they aren’t, at least you’ll know for certain, so you can continue with your search.

Proactive tenants tend to enjoy more success when searching for a property. By asking questions, either about pets or any other issues, you show direct interest in the property. This is exactly what landlords want. As a result, you may find that your interest makes the landlord more flexible, even if they didn’t intend to allow pets in the first place.

Tip #3 – Contact Local Animal Societies

It’s likely that your local area has several societies dedicated to the protection of pets. You may be surprised to find that many of these societies may be able to help you to answer “how do I find pet-friendly apartments?”

Research the animal societies in your area and start getting in touch. In particular, you want to ask about any apartment communities that have historically been accepting pet owners. You can also speak to your real estate agent if you want to take things a step further. In fact, an agent who has a pet of their own could be a very useful accomplice when searching for a pet-friendly apartment.

You’ll often find that the information you receive offers more detail than the adverts you see online, or in the paper. An animal society may be able to provide you with more information about what types of pets the different apartment communities allow, which means you don’t have to waste time searching in the wrong places.

Tip #4 – Offer a Better Deal

In contacting different landlords, you may find that a few are on the fence about letting pets into their properties. Perhaps the landlord understands your desire to keep your pet, but has a bad experience with a previous pet owner under his or her belt.

As crude as it may be, you will often find that money talks in such situations. If you can offer more rent than the landlord asks for, you’ll often find that they become more flexible with regard to your pet.

Of course, you have to watch out for yourself with this tactic. Offering too much money could place you in dire circumstances, especially if your financial situation changes. However, offering a couple of hundred extra dollars a month will often bring a landlord onto your side. After all, that extra rent could cover any damage that the pet causes to the apartment.

Tip #5 – Get References

Any documentation that proves your suitability as a pet-owning tenant will help you in your search. You can assure your prospective landlord that you’re a responsible pet owner, which makes them feel more comfortable with the thought of accepting you as a tenant.

So, what types of documents can help? Well, a letter of reference from your current landlord is a good start. Other landlords will feel more confident in your abilities as a pet owner if they have direct confirmation from other landlords that your pet hasn’t cost them any money.

Any training certificates your pet has earned can also help here. These show that you have control over the animal, and that it has been weaned of any bad habits that could lead to damage. Finally, get your pet spayed or neutered, and provide documentation of that fact. Sterilised pets tend to be much calmer than their unsterilized counterparts. This will ease any fears that your prospective landlord has about your pet becoming a nuisance to other tenants.

Tip #6 – Think of Your Pet’s Needs

Do not snap up the first pet-friendly apartment you find. Instead, remember that your search is as much about your pet as it is about yourself.

Think of the specific needs your pet has. For example, dogs need plenty of exercise. Keeping them cooped up in a small apartment is not healthy. As a result, you need to consider the area around any pet-friendly apartments you find. If you don’t have easy access to places where your animal can exercise, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

The key is to remember what your pet needs from its living space. If you base your search on this information, you can cut a lot of unsuitable apartments from your shortlist.

Tip #7 – Promote Yourself as a Tenant

You can use your struggle to find a pet-friendly apartment to your advantage when speaking to landlords. For example, you could highlight that the difficulty you face in finding an apartment means that you’re more likely to stay in the same place for a long time. Landlords want reliable, long-term tenants, so your struggle works in their favour.

Remember that low tenant turnover means the landlord doesn’t have to spend money constantly to attract new tenants. You could also note how this saved money may outweigh any costs the landlord may incur because of your pet ownership.

Above all else, demonstrate that you understand pet ownership is a privilege. This shows the landlord that you respect their concerns.

Tip #8 – Offer a Trial Period

Some landlords may stay on the fence, even when you’ve offered up plenty of evidence of your abilities as a pet owner. You must understand the landlord’s concerns. Just one bad experience with a pet owner may have left a sour taste in their mouths.

You may find you can get past this hesitance if you offer a trial period. Speak to your landlord about taking on the apartment for one or two months. Agree to a review after the trial period ends. This means you don’t force the landlord to commit to a long term tenancy straight away, which could make them more flexible.

Get the agreement in writing, and then go from there. Make every effort to maintain the property as the landlord expects you to. However, you should also document any challenges that your pet faces in the new home. A trial period could be just as useful for you as it is for your landlord.

Tip #9 – Invite Your Prospective Landlord for a Visit

A lot of landlords fear inviting pets into their properties because the animal is an unknown quantity. They’ve never met your pet, so they can’t see for themselves that the animal behaves well.

An invite to meet your pet will alleviate this concern. Many landlords will soften to the idea of allowing your pet into their property once they’ve met the animal. If they can see a well-groomed pet that follows your lead, they’ll trust the animal more. The landlord may even form a bond with your pet, which works in your favour.

Combine this visit with the documentation mentioned earlier on, and you’ll provide your new landlord with the information they need to trust your animal.

Tip #10 – Offer to Clean

You can also seal the deal if you assure the landlord that you’ll take care of the apartment if you decide to leave. In particular, committing to fully cleaning the apartment of any traces of your pet when you move on may help your landlord make a decision in your favour.

Create a written agreement that notes the measures that you’ll use to clean the apartment. This could include steaming the carpets, deodorising the living space, and having the property checked for any sign of fleas or other pests.

Offering this commitment shows the landlord that you have respect for the property. As a result, you increase your chances of finding a pet-friendly home.

Conclusion

It’s not easy to find pet-friendly apartments. Many landlords treat animals that they don’t know with suspicion. You must understand this. After all, one unruly pet could lead to thousands of dollars in property damage.

However, following these tips will help you to find a pet-friendly apartment. Prove that you’re a responsible pet owner, and look in the right places for a new apartment. This will make your search much easier.

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