Whether you are bringing your pup home for the first time or preparing to embark on a long distance move to an awesome new life in a great new apartment with your cat… living with pets can fill your life with joy. However, every pet owner knows that there are difficulties in renting and moving pets. This article is designed to help pet owners with these exciting, yet stressful, moments in life.
One of the first things you should know if you are moving to an apartment with your pet are the rules and regulations that go into this. While some policies might seem unreasonable, most landlords are open to pets and have very reasonable and budget-friendly policies. Some common things we have seen:
Review the pet clause in your lease agreements as soon as possible. Then go back and read it again. Make sure there are no hidden surprises in the fine text, as breaking a pet clause could possibly lead to eviction. Be sure that you completely understand everything that is in the fine print, so there are no surprises that sneak up on you in the future.
Though you may not like it, landlords have the right to restrict pets based on breed and weight, as well as limit the number of pets you are allowed to have. Often times you will see landlords prohibiting “aggressive breeds.” How breeds are classified depends on the landlord, so check with them before applying to see if your pet is considered an aggressive breed. Some of the commonly classified aggressive breeds are German Shepherds, Pitbulls, Rottweilers, Great Danes, and Dobermans. Even though your Pit Bull might be the sweetest and most harmless thing on this planet, many landlords simply see the entire breed as a risky proposition. If the only thing getting in the way of your dream apartment is the restriction of your peacefully obedient pitbull, try talking to your landlord and introducing them to your pet. Some landlords can be flexible when it comes to breed restrictions.
Renting with pets could cost a pretty penny. Here are a few extra costs to look out for in your apartment’s pet policy:
An additional monthly rent payment that covers your pet being in the rental.
A refundable deposit that you will get back unless your pet causes any damage. If this is not required, you can always offer one to your landlord, which could help increase your chances of landing the apartment that you desperately want.
A one-time fee to allow your pet in the rental. Unlike a deposit, you won’t get this back. We’ve seen pet fees be called the “price of admission” for your pet to be in an apartment.
Make sure your pet is on the books if moving to a new city. Licensing your pet is required in most cities and counties. It’s easy and cheap to do, and owners with unlicensed pets are subject to fine. Some of these fines can reach up to $500, so make sure to get it done.
If you really want to take some of the stress away from your landlord/property manager, look into pet renter insurance coverage. Many renters’ insurance policies have some form of pet liability coverage, which is another great selling point to make to your landlord. We love our pets, but we also know that they can stir up some trouble from time to time. This insurance can cover things such as property damage, and even some potential injuries. Check with your insurance agent about potential renter insurance for pets. Note that renters pet insurance is not the same as standard pet insurance, which relates to your pet’s health and not rent-related damage coverage.
There are some things you can do (and documents to prepare!) to help you in your hunt for the perfect pet-friendly apartment. Landlords and property managers can be flexible on their restrictions, and you can sell your pet as a safe bet with a few simple things.
If you have not heard of this before, it may sound silly to you, but pet resumes are definitely a thing! More and more landlords want to see pet resumes before they allow them in their apartment units. Think of this as a way to showcase your pet, and show that you and your pet will both be responsible tenants. Search for pet resume templates, and you will find hundreds of results to give you a great starting point. Here are some of the important things to include:
- A recent photo (Make sure it shows your pet looking happy and playful)
- Proof of pet insurance, vaccination records, spay/neuter status
- Description of your pet’s personality, likes and dislikes, etc. Let that personality that you love shine!
A good pet resume could be the difference between the perfect home or one you just have to “settle for.” Spend some time on it and make sure it looks good and shows off the things that make your pet a suitable tenant. Another step you can take to go the extra mile would be to request letters of recommendations for your pet from any previous landlords, vets, or trainers. Things like this will go a long way in making sure your landlord know that your pet will not be a harm to their property. While some of this may seem like a little much, a lot of landlords are now being extra cautionary about pets.
Roadtrip to Your New Place
Once you have that new apartment secured, you may need to travel a bit to get there. Moving to a new place, whether it be a new city, state, country, or just across the neighborhood, is definitely an exciting adventure. However, anyone who has moved knows it can be a stressful time. Anybody who has moved with a pet knows it can be downright daunting. If you are stressed about it, imagine the stress your pet is feeling having no idea what is going on. While this can’t be completely avoided, there are some things you can do to make the process go smoothly if you plan properly.
- I.D. tags: It is a good idea to get your pet’s tags updated with the new address sooner rather than later.
- Map out the journey: If you are moving with a dog, plan ahead and locate some parks that you can stop by on the road trip to let your dog stretch their legs. Also, be sure to book your pet-friendly hotels in advance if your trip is going to be multiple days.
- Kennel prep: If your pet is not used to their kennel/crate, getting some practice trips in before the big day could pay dividends.
- Travel essentials: Make sure to pack the essentials… things like pee pads, poop bags, and litter boxes are definitely a must. Don’t forget your pet’s favorite toys, which will ease their stress during this unusual environment. If you’re worried about dog hair getting all over, lint rollers work very well in a pinch. Make sure these things are easily accessible!
- Bring a buddy: If you were planning on making this move on your own, and have a friend/family member who would be willing to help you out, bring them along! Your pet will be thankful when they are being comforted by the passenger.
- Pet moving companies: Professional pet moving services are out there and can definitely help. If you want one less thing to worry about on your moving day, check them out. Just know that these services can get pricey depending on where you are moving.
- Air travel: Try to avoid traveling by air with your pets if possible. Flying can be expensive, but more importantly, it can be very risky for certain breeds. If you absolutely need to fly, do extensive research on air travel with your breed and the airlines’ pet policies.
- Home setup: Once you’re all moved in, you might be tempted to get your pet set up with all new accessories to match your new surroundings. Keeping the same food bowl and dog bed will help your pet settle in quicker and feel comfortable in their new home.
- Exercise patience: Remember, your pet is just as stressed as you are! Try to keep your cool if your pup pees on your new couch or your cat scratches up your new dinner table legs.
If it sounds like a lot of information, that’s because it is! There is a lot that goes into renting, moving, and living with pets, but this is the sacrifice we make for our furry best friends. We can all agree that it’s well worth it. If you need more help, there are tons of guides, articles, and resources on the internet to look for. Websites like Entirely Pets and Healthy Pets are wonderful tools for all pet owners and will answer any of those difficult questions that you have.
About the Author
Justin is a marketing specialist and contributing author at Apartment List. Justin previously worked in social media marketing and has a BA in Marketing from Boise State University.