Finding and Keeping Pet-Friendly Rentals
By Robin Tierney
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Finding a decent rental can be a challenge for people with companion animals. Websites offering assistance include:
The HSUS Rent With Pets site ( www.rentwithpets.org ) provides resources for people with companion animals as well as rental managers. You'll find tips on locating housing, moving with your pet and persuading landlords that you and your pet will be good tenants. Useful resources include a sample reference letter and sample pet resume. There’s also helpful information for landlords. The North Bay site also offers valuable tips for motivating landlords to say "yes" to your dog or cat.
Here’s some good advice:
- Have your pet neutered or spayed, since altered companion animals typically behave better and don't have heat cycles or spray.
- Demonstrate that you are a responsible pet guardian and a good tenant.
- Gather references from former landlords, neighbors, obedience instructors, and veterinarians.
- Bring up the subject of pets in person with the property owner rather than over the phone, if possible. Personally presenting information about yourself and your pet can be more persuasive.
- Invite the landlord to meet your dog in your current apartment or elsewhere. Make sure the dog is clean, groomed and in a calm state during the meeting. It helps to exercise the dog well before the meeting time.
- Provide documents such as spay/neuter certificates, records of up-to-date vaccinations, proof of vet visits, and obedience school diplomas.
- Write a pet resume. Highlight the qualities of your animal, such as: able to stay alone quietly, housetrained, doesn't chew or howl. Explain how you exercise your dog and how you've helped him learn to be calm, how you keep your pet clean and flea-free, and how the fact that your animal is spayed/neutered will benefit the landlord. Include an attractive picture of your companion animal (in a calm state, of course).
- Provide a written statement that you will keep your dog on a leash when outside and that you'll clean up after your animals.
- Show any training certificates and obedience awards. A good idea is to obtain Good Canine Citizenship (CGC) certification for your dog.
- Offer to sign a pet agreement and pay a pet deposit if required. Try to arrange for a refundable one. Note to landlords and other property managers: refundable deposits encourage tenants to take good care of rental property.
- Remind landlords that responsible pet owners make responsible tenants.
After you move in:
- Always clean up after your pet.
- Give your animal enough exercise so that he or she is calm in the apartment when left alone at home.
- Never let the dog or cat roam outside; keep your animal on leash.
- Be a great representative for all pet-owning tenants.
Also see other tipsheets on the PAW website http://www.paw-rescue.org such as:
"I moved roughly ten times with my cat after college when we had to relocate for work," says Partnership for Animal Welfare volunteer Deanne M. "It's all about commitment to finding the right place for everyone."
For more of Robin's Dog Tips, see the index at:
Partnership for Animal Welfare
P.O. Box 1074, Greenbelt, MD 20768
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