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Norwich Bulletin - 11/14/2004

How To Rent With Pets

Please do not call me and tell me you have to move in two days and you need to find your pet a new home. To start with, I do not take in people's pets - nor will I think very much of you for having waited until the last minute to consider your pet. And my first question will be, why didn't you find a place to move to with your pet?

There are steps to take when looking for pet friendly housing. The first and very important step, being to give yourself enough time to find an apartment or house to rent that will allow you to keep you cat or dog. You need to start checking ads, contacting real estate agents and rental agencies at least two months before your lease expires. While you are calling around, understand why there are so many no pet policies with rentals.

Landlords have had bad experiences with irresponsible pet owners and so you will be able to sell yourself as a person committed to providing responsible pet care and of being a considerate pet owning neighbor.

Check out resources that can help you find what you are looking for. Contact the humane society or animal care and control agencies serving the area into which you are moving and see if they can provide you with a list of apartment communities that allow pets. If you know a rental agent that has pets of his or her own, perhaps you can find a sympathetic ear and have a better chance of them finding you a pet friendly rental.

You can also check the community apartment guidebook that is put out locally in the area you are moving to and they may have something that indicates which apartment complexes allow animals, as well as any restrictions that may apply. A great tool is, of course, the internet and you can check out links to websites for pet friendly rental properties all over the United States by logging onto

Large apartment complexes with definite no pet policies are probably not a good place to start looking. You are more likely to be successful if you focus on places that allow some pets or smaller complexes where the landlord has the ability to be flexible. Then you need to sell yourself.

Gather documentation to share with any potential apartment owners, including, a letter of reference from your current landlord or condominium association verifying that you have always been a responsible pet owner; written proof that your dog has completed or is enrolled in a training class and a letter from your veterinarian stating you have kept up your pet's vaccinations and that your pet is spayed or neutered (which makes for a healthier, calmer pet).

Go straight to the top when making your request. Find out who has the ultimate authority to say yes or no and try to find out what previous experiences have made the landlord negative when it comes to considering pets. If you understand why someone feels the way they do, it gives you more power on how to possibly change their mind.

Promote yourself and your pet. Let the landlord know you will be an excellent tenant and long term because you had to work extra hard to find a place to rent that would allow you to keep your cat or dog. Offer to bring your pet to meet the owner or property manager or even invite the landlord to visit you and your pet in your current home.

Make it clear that you keep your cat inside or your dog under control and all times and that you understand the health and safety benefits of doing so. Also, tell your prospective landlord that you are willing to pay an extra security deposit in order to be allowed to have your cat or dog.

Once you get an okay be sure to get it in writing! Have a pet addendum added to your rental agreement. Rental agreements protect not only the landlord, but also the tenant and the pet! The no-pets clause should be removed from the lease, or crossed out and initialed BEFORE you sign it. Above all be honest. Don't try to sneak your pet in because it only angers the landlords and ends up in messy eviction processes or other legal action.

It isn't easy finding a new place to live with a pet. It will take diligence and some good persuasive powers. But didn't you make a commitment to the pet that is presently living with you and offering you unconditional love? Isn't that extra time and effort worth it? If you don't think it is, my advice is not to call me.

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