The Home Renter’s Moving Guide: Renting with Pets

It’s challenging enough to find an apartment in your first-choice neighborhood that fits your budget. Renting with pets adds another layer of difficulty. However, for as many landlords out there that prohibit pets, you can find just as many pet-friendly apartment communities.

A 2014 Apartments.com survey found that 72 percent of renters own pets. About the same number of non-pet owners either enjoyed living in a pet-friendly community or were indifferent.

“While pet-free communities could be more prevalent in private home rentals, most apartment communities welcome residents with pets with open doors,” says Ann Kanz, Regional Marketing Manager at Morgan Properties, an apartment management and investment firm with communities in the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. “People consider their pets as part of the family, so it’s wise for apartment communities to welcome them as such.”

Although it’s possible to find apartments for rent that allow pets, you still have to put your best foot — and paw — forward. Here are a few things to keep in mind when renting with pets.

Adorable brown and white dog lying on floor and looking at the camera with big eyes

Be Prepared to Pay

Most pet-friendly places for rent require a pet deposit or “pet fee,” usually nonrefundable. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 for a cat to $500 for two animals under 40 pounds. The fee varies depending on location and landlord. Other landlords opt for a rent increase or a combination of fee and pet rent. If your rent without pets is $800, then you may have to pay $850 to live with Fido, for example.

“Apartment communities charge these fees to cover any damages that could occur, such as accidents on the floors and carpets, scratches, and biting of fixtures,” says Kanz. “Consider these fees when calculating the money you need for move in, as well as in your monthly expenses.”

A gray tabby momma cat and her kittens lounging in a tartan cat bed in an apartment

Rules Vary for House Rentals

If you’re renting with multiple pets, then be prepared to search a little longer and pay extra fees. Most apartments cap the pet limit at two. Some only allow one pet. Some exclude certain pets, such as aggressive-breed dogs and exotic animals.

Property owners who rent their homes play by their own rules. Most don’t have a firm pet policy. If you find a house to rent that has a yard, then the property owner may be more lenient about pets. As independent property owners, however, they may be more cautious about renting to pet owners. Make a strong case for your three well-behaved dogs when you talk to prospective landlords.

Cute black and white Guinea pig peeking out from a gray pot

Look for Pet-Friendly Amenities

If you’re going to pay higher rent or a pet fee, then you may as well get some value from it. Some new apartments come with pet-friendly amenities, such as outdoor dog play areas and walking trails.

Kanz says Morgan Properties locations host regular events for pet residents, including pet parades, social media contests, and “wash-and-wag” stations. Luxury apartments often offer such perks as pet-sitting, boarding, grooming, and in-house dog walkers. While you’re apartment hunting, be sure to ask about amenities for yourself and your pet.

Two leashed dogs meeting at a dog park on green grass

Put Together a Pet Resume

You know your pet behaves like an angel, but your future landlord doesn’t. Put his or her mind at ease by presenting a pet resume. Include some or all of the following in your pet resume:

  • Letter of reference from your previous landlord
  • Proof of spaying or neutering
  • Proof of vaccinations and flea control
  • Documentation of obedience training
  • Examples of good behavior and cleanliness

Pet cat hidden inside a gray suitcase

Don’t Hide Your Pet

Don’t think you can get away with sneaking your cat into your no-pets-allowed apartment. If you do, you risk eviction. If you decide to adopt a pet after you’ve rented, then ask your landlord first. If he agrees to bend the rules, then get the agreement in writing.

Finding an apartment to rent with pets takes some sleuthing, but you should be able to find plenty of options. Show off your pets’ best features, and you will be moving boxes in no time.

“Finding a new home can be a stressful process,” says Kanz, “But bringing along your furry friends shouldn’t be, as long as you do your homework and know what to expect.”

Are you renting an apartment with pets? CORT Furniture Rental can furnish your new place with comfortable, stylish furniture, available by the piece or by the room. Find a style that suits you and your pets best.

Find your style