Although you may have the most adorable kitty or puppy, you may find prospective landlords turning you down for having a pet(s).
To understand why, lets analyze the “tenant” vs. “landlord” relationship. Landlord, also known as Lessor, will provide housing in exchange for a monthly promise to pay the rent, with the understanding that you, the Tenant, or Lessee, will return the home, upon the end of your lease, in the condition you found it.
Common Pet Behavior Fears
Puppies Chew: Like it or not, young dogs typically enjoy gnawing on chewy or hard object. Landlords fear that this behavior may include chewing on structural items like doors, cabinets or trim. Such damages to the home can become costly.
Kittens Scratch: Regardless how playful, your kitten “may” have a rambunctious personality, and the desire to climb drapery, cabinetry and screen doors. This creating the potential for property damage, and static in the tenant/landlord relationship.
Pets May Pee or Spray: As animals get older, they may have a tendency to either mark their territory, express anger by peeing or spraying, which may entail carpet or floor damage, and introduce unpleasant smells. Replacement of hardwood floors or carpeting is expensive and a landlord may not feel comfortable dealing with it.
Allergies: Some tenants are so allergic to cats and dogs, that when they enter a home that previously had pets, they have an adverse allergic reaction, and must immediately leave the home. Although a home should be cleaned in between rentals, dander may still have some future tenants considering other options.
Large Breed Dogs: Some landlords simply do not feel comfortable with a large animal living in their home. Whether due to the size and the ability to run around, to safety and security should the landlord need to enter the home during an emergency. Some landlords prefer to simply avoid this situation.
Horror Stories: Even though you may have the most beautiful and well-trained pet, landlords may have heard it before, and are having a hard time letting go of their fears the second time around. There is a stigma and no shortage of horror stories pertaining to property destruction by cats and dogs.
In order to qualify tenant credentials, tenants may need to provide a rental application, a credit report, background check, proof of employment and references. But what credentials does you pet have? Only the promise that your pet is well-behaved.
What can you, as a Tenant, do about it?
1.Seek homes approved with Dogs Okay or Cats Okay. These often subject to a Pet Deposit (refundable/non-refundable, subject to discussion.)
2.Let the Landlord meet your pet. Sometimes the only way to help them change their mind is for your pet to steal their heart.
3. If Cats are Okay, why not an 8lb dog? This depends on the Landlord’s comfort, but with the growing popularity of smaller dog breeds, some landlords may consider a very small dog which weighs less than a cat.
4. Consider giving your pet to a friend or family member. This is a tough one, and often not an option, but it depends on your circumstances. If you have to move, maybe the pet-free transition can be temporary, until the landlord gets to know you and begins to trust that you are an honest and diligent tenant.
5. Consider Pet Friendly Apartment Buildings over Privately Owned Rentals. If the private rental market isn’t working out, look into apartment complexes which allow pets. These usually manage a large number of rental units and are prepared and equipped for pet related damages.
6. Wow them with credentials so they want to accept the pet. If your credit score rocks, proof of employment is solid, references are impressive, and background check is clean, the landlord will need to think long and hard before turning you away. You balance risk with piece of mind.
7. Employ a Realtor. Realtors can offer a Pet-Friendly MLS search to give you maximum real-time exposure to available properties as they hit the market, giving you quick access and less worry.
8. Leverage the Pet Deposit. Raise it, lower it, make it refundable or not. If the home you want to rent is hung up on the landlord’s fear of your pet, and keeping the pet is the only choice, offering monetary comfort to soothe the discomfort of possible physical destruction may work. Many landlords will ask for as much as 1 to 2 months rent pet security deposit, which they feel would justify replacement of carpeting, or cleaning of the unit.
Service Animals do not apply to this category as they are not pets, are considered an aid to the homeowner, therefore not subject to No Pet Policies. Reasonable accommodations may be made. Please discuss Service Animals with a professional.