Housing problems are one of the top reasons people mention for giving up their dogs to shelters.

Renters can have trouble locating pet-friendly apartments or can encounter trouble after they move into a place. On the other hand, many landlords are worried about the problems they may have if they allow pets on the property.

In this article, we’ll look at how to make it work from both perspectives.

How to find pet-friendly housing as a renter

There are plenty of rental places available where both you and your dog are welcome, but you might want to do a little research to find the best, most affordable one for you. Once you decide on the dog-friendly place for you and your four-legged companion, make sure that you inform your landlord about your pup and learn any pertinent information in your lease, especially concerning a pet deposit.

Usually, rental housing requires a tenant to pay a pet deposit if they are going to have a dog living there. The pet deposit is often refundable upon move-out if there aren’t any damages the landlord needs to fix. Some landlords and property managers are wary of having dogs on the premises due to the damage they may cause, so a pet deposit is like an insurance policy for them.

But you obviously want to make a good impression. So that’s why you should put your dog’s best paw forward to ensure your potential landlord that your dog will be just as good a tenant as you.

You can do this by:

  • Getting a letter of reference from your most recent landlord
  • Providing a certificate that your dog has completed obedience training
  • Providing proof of up-to-date vaccinations
  • Having a meet-and-greet with your landlord

By offering up this information, you are being proactive and also reassuring your landlord that their property is in good hands.

Your rights as a tenant with a dog

Once you decide where you’re going to live, you should know your rights regarding living there with your dog.

  • Go over your lease
    Make sure your landlord is aware of your dog and that your pup fits into the parameters of the lease. Some properties won’t allow residents to have dogs of certain sizes or breeds, so make sure your dog is permitted.
  • Leases can’t be changed unless both parties agree
    When you sign a lease, you’re agreeing to the written terms. A landlord can’t change those terms on you and suddenly say you can’t have your dog.
  • Your landlord can’t force you or your dog to leave
    Regardless of whether your landlord is justified in wanting you or your dog out, they have to follow the law and go through the proper legal channels.
  • Your landlord can’t go into your home and remove your dog
    The landlord should never be able to go into your home without your permission unless it’s an emergency.
  • You may have a legal right to keep your dog even if your lease doesn’t allow pets
    Your lease, type of housing, and local laws may support your right to keep your dog.

It’s a good idea to have each of your dogs included in your lease. Have an addendum citing your dogs’ names and respective license numbers. Make sure to describe the dogs’ breeds and physical appearances, such as color and weight. This way your landlord won’t be able to claim that he did not grant you permission to have a particular dog or more than one dog.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where your landlord wants you to get rid of your dog, contact an experienced lawyer or get help from your local Legal Services or Legal Aid branches. A qualified attorney will review your lease and protect your right to keep your pup.

The advantages of a pet-friendly policy for landlords

All kinds of businesses are embracing dog owners, but perhaps landlords are the most important to have on board. Since most people think of their dogs as family members, allowing dogs in rental properties can actually be beneficial for property owners.

Here are the five things you should know about letting dogs live with your tenants.

  • You’ll attract more tenants
    Since many families have dogs these days, you want to make sure dogs are welcome at your property. Otherwise, people will find somewhere else to live that does allow them to bring their dog, leaving you with empty apartments.
  • You can make more money
    According to a study by FIREPAW, landlords who allow pets typically charge between 20 to 30% more than those who don’t. On average, pet-friendly housing charges $222 more than non-pet-friendly housing. It works because people are willing to pay a little more to keep their family together.
  • Residents with dogs don’t necessarily cause more damage than residents without
    If you’re worried about damages, just hold your tenants responsible for their dogs and have a pet deposit to make sure you’re covered in the event there is damage. And remember — kids generally cause more damage than pets!
  • Size and breed don’t matter
    Restricting dogs by size or breed is not only unfair but doesn’t make sense. Small dogs aren’t better than large dogs and vice versa. So-called dangerous breed dogs can be teddy bears. Try meeting your tenants’ dogs and making decisions individually. Consider things like their level of training, past references, and whether they are spayed or neutered. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered are less likely to display a wide range of problem behaviors.
  • Set clear standards
    It shouldn’t matter if your tenant has one dog or four. As long as your tenant is able to properly care for their animals and maintain the standards expected of them, you should consider letting them bring along their whole doggy brood. Again, references can play an important role here, allowing you to feel confident that your property is in good hands.

Dogs are family. Tenants and landlords can work together to allow everyone to bring their whole family with them!

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