How to Rent With a Dog

Always keep your dog on a leash when outside your rental unit.
Always keep your dog on a leash when outside your rental unit. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

For many people, dogs are loyal and compassionate pets. Although pet-friendly places are more the exception than the rule, many landlords provide rental units with pet policy agreements for your dog. Knowing how to rent with a pet dog can prove helpful when finding a place for you and Fido to live.

Contact the landlord to schedule a tour of the rental unit. This will allow you to see the rental unit and for him to answer any questions you might have. Mention on the phone that you are seeking a rental unit that would accommodate your pet dog and describe its size and breed. Due to space limitations and state regulations, certain dog breeds and sizes are not permitted in certain rental units. Save your time by asking right away whether your dog, based on its breed and size, is even permitted to live in the rental unit with you.

Tour the rental unit. Consider the surrounding area and whether there is enough space to walk or play with your dog. Huge grassy lands are ideal for this. Avoid renting closely spaced houses or apartments that share a common wall because they are unsuitable for renters with dogs. Your nextdoor neighbor will have trouble sleeping if your dog is busy and noisy, which could lead to potential trouble. Avoid carpet if your dog is a heavy shedder. Its hairs will stick in the carpet and will require constant vacuuming to keep your rental unit tidy.

Provide references to validate that you are responsible and that your dog is well kept. Obtain references from veterinarians, neighbors and former landlords. Provide a packet of information, along with the references, such as vaccination records and certificate of completion of obedience class. The references and packet of information will likely prove helpful in the landlord's decision to allow you to lease the rental unit, sometimes even if there is a no pets policy.

Discuss terms of your contract, including pet policies before signing the lease. Make sure you understand all terms that involve cleaning after dogs and any strict policies governing pet ownership on the landlord's premises. Discuss the pet policy agreement so you understand the cost of the pet deposit, and if there are any additional monthly fees and any fines for failure to comply. Allow the landlord to check up on the rental unit or the pet occasionally to reassure him you will be a responsible owner, if you sense any hesitancy from him. Reassure him that you will keep your dog under control at all times and clean up after it at all times.

Sign the lease and the pet policy agreement and move into your new rental unit with your pet dog. Comply with all pet policies. Pay the pet deposit to repair any damage your dog may cause.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times when outside your rental unit.
  • Ask a friend, relative or professional dog sitter to walk your dog if you will be gone for long hours.
  • Ask your landlord what is considered normal wear and tear to avoid problems with having your deposit returned.

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