Renting a home when you have a dog is a little more complicated than renting a home if you do not have any pets.
Some landlords will simply refuse to have dogs on their property, while others will allow them—for a fee. Even if you have the most polite, well-adjusted dog in the entire world, you might still have to pay hundreds of extra dollars to rent a home or apartment when you have a dog.
Here are some tips to help you make the process as smooth and as painless as possible:
1. Give yourself plenty of time to find a place. You do not want to be forced into paying far more than you originally planned for renting a place that you do not really like, simply because your old lease is up and you need to be into a new place right now. Start looking for places at least eight weeks before your current lease is up—this will give you plenty of time to find a place that you both like and that will make accommodations for your pup.
2. Consider the surroundings. When looking for your new rental, be sure to factor in the surroundings. Is there a yard for your dog? Are there good areas nearby for walks? Would you and your dog feel safe taking a night walk in the neighborhood. All of these things are good ideas to consider before choosing a place to live. The last thing you want is to get settled into a place, only to realize it’s not quite going to be what you need.
3. Put yourself in the shoes of the landlord. It can be frustrating when a landlord refuses to allow you to rent a home, just because you have a dog. You may know that your dog has never ripped up carpet or chewed on trim, but your landlord has likely experienced this with people who have sneaked pets into that home.
Many landlords are worried about dogs barking and annoying other tenants or neighbors. While some landlords might originally reject the idea of a pet, if you can prove that you are a responsible pet owner who understands how to take care of a dog and how to keep him happy so that he doesn’t destroy the house, you are much more likely to be able to rent the home you want.
4. Ask your local humane society. There are likely people working with animals that know where around town people with animals are permitted to live. Ask at your local human society, vet’s office, or real estate agent where the pet-friendly housing complexes or areas are. If you search for rental homes online, search directories that list whether or not a certain property allows pets and what the potential fees, weight limits, or breed restrictions might be.
5. Think about alternative housing. If you are, right now, only looking at apartment complexes, it might be time to jump onto Craigslist, Traderzip, or your town’s local classified listings and see who is renting out their mother-in-law or basement apartment. Individual landlords are usually much more willing to make accommodations for renters that they like and trust than big corporations are. Of course, neighborhoods, condos, and apartment buildings that already make accommodations for pets will be the easiest option, but they might not always be the best option for you and your pet.
6. Prove that your dog is well-trained. There is a big difference between a rowdy dog and one that has been properly trained. Your dog might be high energy, but if you can prove that your dog has been well-trained, and has all of his vaccines, you are much more likely to be able to rent the home you want to rent. To that point, here’s a great way to keep track of your dog’s medical records.
The biggest factor to consider, of course, is whether or not the home you are considering renting is right for you and your dog. Is there enough space? Is it near parks and walking trails that will keep your dog happy?
I hope that this article will provide value for dog owners who are getting ready to move. And I hope you keep on living life with your best friend!
Jillian Vogel is the owner at Gulf Coast K9 Dog Training in Bradenton, Florida. Originally from the Buffalo NY area, Jillian entered the dog training industry to follow her love for dogs and animals in general. She is passionate about helping dogs overcome hurdles and obstacles, and helping people to live a better life with their best friend.