5 Tips for Gaining Rent Approval with a Pet

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rentThere are a lot of tiny things we fail to think about when we’re considering whether to get a pet (fur and hair all over the place, early morning wakeup calls). But one thing any responsible would-be owner cannot overlook is the potential that they may have a hard time finding a place to live if they have a pet (particularly a dog). Specifically if  you are trying to rent. Not all landlords and buildings allow pets, or if they do they have specific restrictions (the ban of breeds, not allowing dogs over a certain weight/size, only allowing one pet).

Before you get a pet, keep in mind that if you are a renter, you may be adding a level of difficulty into your life with your current and all future living situations. But, if you’re persistent about the idea of having a pet, here are 5 tips for gaining rent approval, even with your cat, dog, snake, or whatever.

1. Give yourself time – Most people give themselves plenty of time to find a new home, but if you have a pet as well, then you need to add even more time to your search. You should consider contacting real estate agents and rental agencies at least 2 months before you plan to move.

2. Gather proof that you’re responsible – Some pet restrictions are building-wide (as in if you rent from an association). These bans are a bit tougher to crack; however, if you’re renting from a singular landlord, you do have the ability to instill some persuasion. Still, we recommend you do all that you can to convince any potential landlord that your pet will be okay in its new home.

If you’re a current pet owner, get a letter from your landlord or association stating you are a responsible pet owner. If your dog has completed a training class, be sure to include that documentation.

Also, get a letter from your veterinarian stating that you’re on top of your pet’s medical care, and provide your potential landlord with documentation that your pet is spayed or neutered and up-to-date with all shots and vaccinations.

3.  Promote yourself and your pet – The truth is, pet owners are less likely to jump around from apartment to apartment, because of how difficult it can be to find the right home for a pet. This means lower vacancy rates for your potential landlord. Lower vacancy rates means lower costs and headaches for landlords. Let your potential landlord know this.

Also, promote your pet. Invite the landlord to see your pet in his existing home, or bring your pet to meet the landlord.

4. Be open to paying more – Pets can get messy. Their hair and fur can get caught in carpets. Their nails can scratch the floor (and walls), and if they’re feeling rambunctious, they can actually do some structural damage (like chewing the molding of a doorway). Even if your landlord doesn’t require that you pay more in rent for your pet, offer to do so to show that you respect his property and intend to keep it in good form.

5. Get it in writing – Once you’ve been given permission to have your pet, get it in writing, preferably within the lease. Verbal word is not enough. A verbal agreement doesn’t hash out any stipulations, and opens you and your pet up to a “change of heart” by your landlord months down the road.

Even though pet ownership continues to grow in the US, it’s not that easy finding a home to rent with a landlord that is willing to open their doors to your dog, cat, reptile, bird, etc. But if you follow these steps, you can improve your chances of being approved for rent, even with your furry, feathered or scaly friend.