Apartment hunting with a dog usually means one thing: finding a dog-friendly apartment that you can live in comfortably. But before you pack your moving boxes, you must first research whether the apartment building has pet rules, pet licensing fees, and any other restrictions that could prevent you and your furry friend from finding the home of your dreams.
Don't let these issues dissuade you. If you have found a great apartment - the perfect location and perfect size - and you learn that pets are not accepted, it may be possible to persuade your future landlord to let you bring your pet. However, it is usually easier and less complicated to just move to a building that opens its doors to pets. You'll find more amenities geared towards your four-legged friend and other tenants who have pets, like meetups in the park. So, what should be on your list to consider when looking for a dog-friendly apartment? Read on to find out.
1. Seek Apartment Referrals
If you are a dog owner, then chances are you have friends or coworkers who are also dog owners. Some of them may be able to help you narrow down apartment buildings with pet-friendly rentals. Once you know the top apartment complexes to consider, book a viewing appointment each time a rental unit comes up as available.
Keep in mind that while you may find a lot of dog-friendly apartments, some will have breed or size restrictions. Do your research first before you get your hopes up! If you don't know anyone in the area, join a social group and see if you can get an apartment suggestion that way.
You may also consider checking out a local real estate agent for help. Even if you are only looking for rental properties, they may be willing to share a list of dog-friendly apartments. Also, be sure to talk to your local Humane Society. They should have valuable pet-friendly apartment information you can use in your search.
2. Local And On-Site Amenities
Finding an apartment that welcomes your pet is the first hurdle; finding one that offers amenities for your furry friend can sometimes be your second. Probably the biggest creature comfort you will want is a place for your dog to sleep and do her business, such as a dog run, a nearby park or the like.
Having something that is on-site is a big help when you are restricted on time to take your dog to do her business, or you are faced with bad weather and don't want to go too far. Other local conveniences and treats may include restaurants that welcome pets, hiking trails, and dog-grooming facilities.
3. Create A Pet Resume
So, let's say you have found the apartment of you and your dog's dreams, but now you find out that the competition to get in is steep. Think of your rental application like a job application, and create a resume for your furry friend.
Here's what we mean: If you and your dog have stayed elsewhere and have never had a problem then see if your previous landlord would be willing to put in a reference for your pet. This is particularly helpful if your pet is as well-behaved as you say she is. Proof of vaccination is also beneficial to put on her resume as well as proof of obedience training.
4. Don't Forget Pet Fees
This one can be a bit of a nuisance, particularly if you are caught off guard with this extra fee. Looking for a pet-friendly apartment often comes with a licensing fee or deposit of some sorts. It all depends on the city or town you are living in.
These costs can vary in terms of price and even in terms of whether or not you will be reimbursed when you move out. In some cases, a landlord will say the fees are necessary to cover the cost of cleaning your rental unit post-lease termination, while others will return the funds if all is well.
You may be able to negotiate this fee, especially if you can provide your landlord with your dog's resume, showing that she will indeed not soil that brand-new carpet in your unit and that she doesn't bark at every sound that she hears.
5. Learn the Building Rules
Before you sign the dotted line, be sure you know the rules that you and your dog will have to abide by. Much in the same way as talking to current residents gives you insight on what to expect, see if you can find a current tenant who also has a dog and see what that person has to say.
If, after you have first-hand information on what it's like to live there with a pet, you still want to move in, just get everything in writing. Acknowledging important information about your pet, such as her breed, name, and size will help ensure that your landlord can't change the rules halfway through your lease. Keep this information in a safe and unforgettable place.
Danielle L'Ami writes about self-improvement for Zumper blog. When she is not on her computer, she can be found spending time with her husband and two sons.