kitten and big dog

Tips for Negotiating a Pet-Friendly Lease

June 8, 2011 | Apartment Lifestyle, Pet Friendly Advice

Having trouble finding an apartment that will allow your pet? Most landlords have legitimate concerns when it comes to four-legged roommates and it’s your job to address these concerns directly from the start. The best way to negotiate your way into a pet-friendly apartment is to have a plan in place before you talk to the landlord.

Many landlords are reluctant to allow pets because they fear they will damage the property, make too much noise and bother or potentially harm other renters. They also worry that you won’t train or monitor your pets, or take responsibility for any accidents that occur. Given these concerns, there are a number of things you can do to build the landlord’s comfort level with the idea of a pet on the property. Before you pick up the phone or stop by the leasing office, read on to make sure you are fully prepared for the conversation.

  • Letter from the Vet: Tackle the basics by requesting verification that your pet has had vaccinations and any necessary treatments. A certified letter from your veterinarian shows the landlord that your pet is healthy and that you are a responsible pet owner.
  • Letter from Past Landlords: Bring in reinforcements, especially if the landlord has dealt with problem pets in the past, by obtaining letters of recommendation for your pet from your former landlord and neighbors. This will reassure the landlord that Fido or Fifi is indeed well behaved and beloved not only by you.
  • Obedience Training: Consider obedience training. Written proof that your pet has completed an obedience course will show the landlord how committed you are to keeping the peace and controlling your pet.
  • Renters Insurance: Check into rental insurance that covers pet-related damages. Your willingness to be financially responsible for your pet shows the landlord that you are respectful of their concerns and feel a sense of responsibility for the property. Additionally, if the landlord hasn’t mentioned a pet deposit consider offering to provide one to cover any potential damages. If this is what it takes to seal the deal, be sure to get the amount in writing, learn whether or not it is refundable and what you have to do in order to get your pet deposit back when you move out.
  • Pet Interview: If all else fails, try going for the heart strings and arranging a meeting with your landlord to introduce your pet. Sometimes a face-to-face is just what it takes to win someone over. It can be hard to resist the charms of a furry-pawed friend.

Our last piece of advice is this. Never try to sneak a pet into your apartment hoping that your landlord won’t notice or mind. You could put yourself in the position of being forced to move or having to find a new home for your pet.

If you’ve had success negotiating a dog-friendly or cat-friendly lease, we’d love to hear your tips and advice!

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