Renting with Dogs: How to Find a Dog-Friendly Apartment

In Partnership with Flats Life
July 4, 2020

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Finding an apartment that checks off your needs and wants is hard enough, but renting with pets can make your search even more difficult. While cats are commonly accepted into apartments due to their quiet nature and small stature, dogs are harder to find a rental with, especially larger breeds.

Dog owners frequently get turned away for every reason, from their dog being a safety concern to allergies among residents. However, it is important to know that not all landlords feel this way.

On the flip side of the coin, there are plenty of places that would love to accommodate you and your four-legged friend. You just have to know where to look and how to create a wow-worthy first impression.

Consider Your Dog’s Needs

While you probably know what you want in an apartment, what about your dog? Make a list of the ideal place for your dog to live. While the apartment you get may not end up checking off the entire list, it should still accommodate the most critical points.

This list may include:

  • A dog park in walking distance.
  • A safe neighborhood to go on walks.
  • A window they can look out of.

Also, think of your dog’s specific needs, not just universally ideal features. For example, if you have an older dog, you may want to consider a ground floor apartment or a complex with an elevator to avoid stairs. Or, consider floor type. While tile or wood floors are much easier to clean accidents off of and don’t absorb smell, carpet tends to be easier on joints.

Search ASAP

The sooner you start searching, the more options you will have and the less stressful the transition will be. Start by talking to other dog owners about potential rentals. They often have advice on the best places to rent, and the apartments you want to avoid. Plus, one may even have some insider info on an available apartment in their building.

Look at Listings & Ask Questions

Take to the internet and even the newspaper’s classifieds to look for potential apartments. The term “pet-friendly” is always a good lead, but “dog-friendly” is even better. With either term, though, always look for specifics. Can’t find details in the listing? Be sure to ask! These terms differ from building to building.

Important information you want to know includes:

  • How many pets do they allow per apartment?
  • Are there any restrictions on breeds and size?
  • Are there extra fees for pet owners?
  • Are pets banned from certain areas like elevators or the lobby?
  • And, of course, do they accept dogs? It isn’t uncommon that “pet-friendly” only applies to cats and other small pets.

Walk the Neighbourhood

It is always great when you can find an apartment near a dog park, but you also want to ensure the neighborhood is ideal for regular walks. Once you find an apartment you want to put an application in for, take a quick walk around the neighborhood.

  • Are there other dogs being walked? Are they leashed? Friendly?
  • Are there hazards like glass and needles on the ground?
  • Are there sidewalks?
  • Is traffic-heavy? Is it easy to cross the street safely?

Create a Dog Resume

When you’ve finally found an apartment that is well-suited for you and your dog, don’t celebrate just yet. You probably have to make it through the application process first—and competition for a good dog-friendly apartment can be fierce. One of the easiest ways to stand out from the crowd is to make a dog resume.

A dog resume is much like a job resume, except it shows off their training and qualifications for living in an apartment.

A dog resume generally includes:

  • A pet photo
  • Breed
  • Age
  • Weight and size
  • Vaccinations
  • Training
  • A blurb about their personality
  • A reference letter from a past landlord

While more people are turning to dog resumes to prove that their pup is well-trained, it is still a relatively new concept. So, this is a great way to garner a landlord’s attention and make your application stand out.

Schedule a Meeting

If your dog is well-behaved and great with strangers, you can also request a meet and greet for your dog and potential landlord. However, remember that not all landlords will agree to this, so while it never hurts to ask, don’t be discouraged if the answer is no.

However, if they do agree, you will want to show off your dog’s best qualities. While they can flaunt their cuteness all on their own, you should groom your dog beforehand. Also, showing off that they know some basic commands and tricks is a good idea, just don’t go overboard. The primary purpose of this meeting is for the landlord to meet your dog and get a feel for their overall mannerism.

Get the Agreement in Writing

Make sure you have it in writing that your dog is allowed in the building. Your rental contract should never include a clause that states pets aren’t permitted. Even if you have your landlord’s word that it is okay, make sure that any agreement with a no-pet clause gets amended before you sign it.

Additionally, you may also want to add a pet addendum into the mix. This separate contract states that not only your dog is allowed in the apartment, but goes into a bit more detail. If you should ever have trouble with your landlord in the future regarding your dog in the building, having this document can further protect your rights as a tenant.

Dogs are one of the true joys of life. They give us unconditional love and deserve a home that makes them feel safe and welcome. So lastly, we highly discourage lying on an application. While it may get you into an apartment initially, it will only cause you and your dog stress and grief down the road. Finding a dog-friendly apartment can be hard, but it’s nothing that you and your furry friend can’t handle!

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