What to Keep in Mind When Renting with Pets

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Any pet lover will tell you that a house just doesn't feel like a home without an animal to share it. If you're in the market for a rental, plenty of pet-friendly apartments out there will welcome you and your furry bestie, but there are some things to keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line. In this post, we'll discuss some of the things to know when renting with pets, and give advice for making your new place safe and cozy for your pet. 

Learn the Rules and Be Upfront 

Even if you've gone to great lengths to verify that your new apartment is pet-friendly, re-examining the property's pet policies in detail is always a good idea. Communicate clearly with the landlord or property management, confirm their expectations of tenants with pets, and get it all in writing to eliminate any potential bumps in the road. 

The issue of breed restrictions on certain dogs is an excellent example of how miscommunication can complicate your rental agreement. Regardless of the state's legislature on "dangerous" breeds, it's perfectly legal for rental managers to restrict or prohibit certain breeds on the property. For example, Utah may not allow breed discrimination, but that doesn't mean you can confidently move into any apartment in Salt Lake City with your favorite German Shepherd or beloved Pit Bull.   

But take heart. If property management does enforce breed restrictions, there are ways you may be able to persuade them that your Shepherd or Pittie would make a great tenant, and they should make an exception! The best way to do that is to be upfront and honest about the kind of dog you have and come prepared with references from your veterinarian, obedience trainer, former landlords, neighbors, and anyone else who can vouch for your dog's character. 

Prepare for the Fees

• Rental properties almost always require extra fees upfront from tenants with pets. These include: 

• Pet Fee: Non-refundable and due at signing.

• Pet Deposit: A refundable fee due at signing to cover any potential damage to the apartment by your pet. If you leave the apartment in the same condition you received it, the landlord should refund the pet deposit when you move out. 

• Pet Rent: A fixed payment due monthly in addition to your rent. 

woman sitting on sofa while olding food for dog

Pet-Proof and Teach Apartment Etiquette

Due to their natural curiosity, your pet will probably want to explore their new home as soon as they leave their crate or carrier! But it's also important to remember that most animals get nervous in new environments, and anxious pets can do significant damage. To ensure their safety and comfort (and to get your pet deposit back later), start by giving them time to explore the space independently, but stay nearby for reassurance. 

Whether you have a dog or a cat, the furniture and carpets are almost always the first to sustain pet-related damage. For dogs, it's vital to keep to their regular schedule of walks and potty breaks so they know the rules about going in the house haven't changed. Nervous dogs and puppies may also chew on wooden door frames and windowsills, especially if left alone. If possible, block them with furniture or use wooden bumpers to protect them from busy teeth. Keeping plenty of chew toys around the house is an excellent way to redirect that chewing energy both when you're home and away. 

For cats, be sure to provide a clean, private, preferably uncarpeted place for their litter box. Encourage your kitty to use a scratching post or pad by spraying it with catnip oil to deter them from scratching on furniture, carpets, and door frames. Cats need as much stimulation as dogs, so leave toys around the house for them to stalk, bat, and chase. 

Put child locks on your cabinets and use a locking trash can to prevent your pet from contact with potentially dangerous chemicals or foods. Certain houseplants are also poisonous to animals, so double-check that your plants are safe to have in the house with your pet.

Also, whether it's because they're excited, nervous, or protective, barking can be a serious problem for you and your neighbors. Train your doggie not to bark whenever someone knocks or passes by your door and provide lots of love and treats for positive reinforcement. Consider crate training, doggie daycare, or professional training if they're a nervous barker when you're gone. 

Enjoy Your New Place Together! 

Part of showing our pets the unconditional love and affection they deserve means ensuring they feel as safe and comfy in their new apartment as you do. Once they get used to it, you can expect to make great memories of long walks around your new neighborhood, making friends with the neighbors, and snuggling on the sofa after a long day. 

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