Some apartment complexes love pets and their owners, others do not. A blanket policy in a large complex may not be easy to circumvent. Single rental units such as a duplex or other private house or apartment may have more lenient policies but finding the right mix can be tricky. Dogster.com offers some advice to help find the best fit for you and Fido.
Use social networking.
Post your plans on line on Facebook, Twitter or similar sites. Ask for help finding a nice dog-friendly place to live in your new location. You may be surprised at how quickly you get messages or texts from landlords or friends of friends who know of good places. Enlist the help as soon as you set a move date. Many of the best dog-friendly rentals, those with a pristine interior, despite being home to pet after pet, and a yard in which your pups can play, never make it to the online listing stage, as owners have potential tenants lining up through word of mouth.
Search Craigslist smartly. Click the "dogs" box, of course, and skip over listings that mention move-in specials or resort-style amenities. Both indicate a larger complex, and wouldn't you prefer to pay for a yard rather than a fitness room or coffee bar you will never use? Also, be wary of listings in all caps or mixed case, which are favorites of apartment finders who push the larger, commission-paying complexes.
Find the type of rental you prefer: a small house, duplex, or building owned by an individual rather than a large corporation may be your best bet. The personalized management and yard (if present) make such properties the best dog-friendly rentals. Larger dog-friendly complexes have higher turnover, so managers often don't push to resolve issues such as nuisance barking or piles of poop in common areas. They know complaining or problem tenants will eventually move, solving the problem for them.
Have references ready.
Have both paper and electronic versions of your references ready to provide. When you meet a landlord to view a rental property, attach paper copies to the application if filled out on-site. Include them with the application if sending via email. Competition for rental properties can be fierce, and you do not want to lose a great house or apartment to someone better organized.
Ask your current landlord to provide a letter (usually in email form) that attests to Spot and Dolly's quiet and nondestructive nature and to your responsibility as a pet owner. Pet owners can make excellent tenants, and you will have the references to prove it.
Suggest a pet interview.
During the application process ask the landlord if he or she would like to meet Spot and Dolly. It shows you have nothing to hide about your dogs and their behavior. If you can’t meet in person, attach a video to an email showing obedience and great behavior.
Take your pups to the park or for a long walk before any face to face interviews. That way, they arrive pooped and "pooped." Even the most polite pups will get excited when checking out a new place, especially a dog-friendly one with smells left in the yard by previous tenants. While picking up after your dog shows responsibility as a pet owner, it does make for an awkward moment with a landlord you just met.
Don’t negotiate deposits or rents downward.
Offer less than the stated rent or deposit, as doing so may eliminate you from the running for one of these much-desired properties. In especially competitive markets, you may want to offer slightly higher rent if you know the landlord has a long list of qualified applicants. You might also offer a willingness to sign an 18 or 24 month lease. This will eliminate the landlord’s need to clean and repaint a vacant apartment quickly, saving him money and showing your willingness to be a long term tenant. Landlords love reliable renters.
In most states, owners of pet-friendly rentals can ask whatever they want for a pet deposit. A housing study by FIREPAW found that the average pet deposit ranged from 40 to 85 percent of the monthly rent. Results also showed that only about half of rental properties accept pets, and those that do charge higher rent. Simply put: If you want the best dog-friendly rental available, plan to pay whatever asked.
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