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Renting With Pets

Renting a home for you and your furry roommate is difficult -- but not impossible. Find an animal-friendly abode easily with these expert tips.

Photo: Shutterstock

Make a Timeline

Finding a home takes time. Finding a home that allows pets takes a little more time. If using a real estate agent or a broker, make contact with them at least six weeks prior to moving.

Be Upfront About Your Situation

Never try and hide the fact that you have a pet, or sneak fluffy in without telling anyone. Not only do you risk eviction, fines and/or legal action, but you’ll also have serious trouble finding another rental after a bad recommendation. Yikes.

Use Your Resources

Contact the local humane society or animal care and control agency serving the area. They may have a list of available properties and communities that allow pets. Try searching Craigslist and other apartment websites such as 101Apartments.com, or finding a broker or agent that shares your love of pets (and may be able to give you more leads).

Be Responsible (and Prove It)

As with any other renting situation, the more proof you can provide that you’re a responsible pet owner, the better your chances of securing a home. These documents can be helpful: a letter of reference from your current landlord or property manager, a letter from the organizer of a training class stating your dog has completed training or is enrolled and/or a letter from your vet stating how often your bring them in for checkups and any other positive information (in the eyes of the property manager and neighbors), such as the fact that your pup is neutered and on a strict flea-control program.

Be Sincere

If you come across a no-pets policy but can’t imagine living anywhere else, approach the landlord or owner and state your case. Ask them if they had prior bad experiences with tenants’ pets, and address their concerns. You’ll be able to state your case better if you know the particulars.

Offer an Introduction

Offer to bring your pet to meet the owner or property manager, or have them visit you in your home. It will show how in control of your pet you are, its demeanor, not to mention its cleanliness. If anything, show pictures of your pet so they can judge size.

Be Willing to Pay Extra

Renting with a pet is a privilege, not a right -- and you might have to pay for it. If your landlord doesn’t already require an extra pet deposit, offer one. If anything should happen, it ensures they’ll have the money to clean up the rental.

Put Pen to Paper

If everything is cleared with having a pet, make sure your lease states that you have permission. If your lease has a no-pets clause, verbal agreement isn’t enough. Have them remove it from the lease or strike it out and initial, before you sign. Make sure it’s removed from all copies. Make sure monetary instances (such as the pet deposit) are also recorded. It’ll save you headache in trying to get your money back later.

Nestpert: The Humane Society of the United States (www.humanesociety.org)

-- Samantha Leal