A Landlord’s Advice for Tenants Wanting a Pet

By Mary Woodcock


When you’re a pet owner, it can be out of the question to consider giving up the pet you love. But many landlords say “no pets!” So what’s a pet lover to do? You may be forced to do the rounds and apply to one apartment after another until you find a landlord gracious enough to allow your entire family, including the animals, to move in.

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Pets can be good or bad, and many property owners prohibit animals out of the fear that the pets will turn out to be bad. Animals can create a significant mess in a space that makes clean up and finding a replacement tenant more difficult for the owner. And bad behavior can drive away other good customers.

So from a landlord and pet owner, here’s a guide for responsible tenants to follow if pets are going to be a consideration.

Pet Tips for Renters

Consider looking for breeds that don’t shed and are hypoallergenic. One of the problems with pets in apartment spaces is that they shed and their hair can get just about everywhere, such as air filters, baseboards, and inside the cabinets. There is just no end to where pet hair and dander invade! This is why some landlords are so strict about animals. Pet hair can make resale on the property so much harder when not even a toothbrush clean is good enough for future tenants with allergies.

If you find a landlord who allows you to keep your pet regardless of whether it sheds or not, you need to make it your responsibility to clean the premises often. That means really often.  It is important to develop a level of trust with the landlord about the space you’re renting. If he or she knows you’re going to clean up after your animals -- that you’re going to take care of the pee spots and places your furry roommate happens to upchuck -- then the landlord will be more likely to decide it’s okay for you to have an animal.

If you’re getting details sorted out on a place and it comes down to whether you have pets or not, do not lie about it. You might hope you can sneak around with your pets, but you’ll always be paranoid: you can’t let your dog out to pee without fearing the neighbors will tattle on you, and you’ll be feeling stressed out much of the time you’re living at that establishment. Instead, try having a polite conversation with your landlord. You might be able to come up with an agreement that you will leave the house in better condition than when you moved in. This might mean you pay to clean the carpet. Worse comes to worst, maybe you replace the carpet with hardwood and you pay somebody to come in and sweep the house to clear the air of allergens when you leave. Remember that landlords like long-term tenants. Offering to sign a long lease can make carpet cleaning, new flooring, or professional allergen removal worthwhile for everyone.

Finally, explain to your landlord how your animal behaves so they can understand that it won’t be a nuisance to other paying customers. If your cat is strictly an indoor cat, say it never goes out. If your animals are spayed or neutered (and not everyone agrees with this, but if they are) that can also positively impact a landlord’s view of spraying, caterwauling, or chasing after the neighbors’ pet. If your animals are quiet and well mannered, that helps. And of course, have your animal documentation for license and vaccines ready to submit with your application. Make it easy for the landlord to say, “yes!”

It sounds like a lot of work, but if you want to live with your pet(s) in a rented home, this might be the price you have to pay! Good luck!

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