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Things for Pet Owners to Consider When Preparing to Rent

MyApartmentMap - Dec 6, 2010

Pet owners will tell you, time and time again, it’s critically important that you do your homework on any pet-friendly property before you sign a lease or rental agreement. Even if you’ve been told that dogs, cats, birds and the like are welcome, you’ll still want to double-check all the applicable accommodations to ensure that the apartment at hand will be able to meet the needs of you and your pet. In order to know you’ve thoroughly researched a property, you might want to consider the criterion listed below while you peruse pet-friendly apartments.  

Find out where pets are welcome. During your search, remember to ask yourself if the accommodations meet the needs of your animal. If you’re a dog owner, you’ll want to know where you can take your canine friend for a walk. Is there a field, grassy area, or trails where you can go with your pet? If you’re lucky, you might have immediate access to a dog park. Whatever the available setting, pet owners should familiarize themselves with the property outside of their apartment. It’s worth checking to see if the property has changed pet regulations in the past or expects to alter rules in the future. Policies can change, and asking about it will help you see what direction the property is taking regarding pets.  

Conduct a review of the restrictions on pets. When you check to see where `pets are welcome`, you’ll also want to review any animal restrictions set by the property owners or association. For example, some apartment buildings might only allow dogs and cats to live on certain floors. Size and breed restrictions might also apply. If you’re a fish owner, you’ll want to check what limits, if any, have been set on tanks. This is especially true, if you live on any floor above the ground level or basement. In some cases, dogs at apartment complexes might not be allowed in locations like pool areas or in kids’ parks. Dogs might also be required to be on leashes while in common or public areas. Aside from the apartment’s rules, check out your local community’s laws regarding pets.  

Prepare and update your pet's records. Once you’ve found an apartment that’s right for you and your pet, you’ll want to make sure that you’re pet has all the proper documentation to help ensure that the moving process goes smoothly. Your pet’s vaccinations all should be up to date – and it’s a wise idea to be on a monthly flea and tick prevention regimen. If you’re a dog owner and your pet has taken training or obedience classes, you definitely should note that fact when providing records about your animal to your new or potential landlord. Depending on the property, you might be required to provide references from a veterinarian or your former landlord. When you’re ready to sign the lease or rental contract, it will not be uncommon if you are asked to pay a pet fee, whether it’s monthly, non-refundable or otherwise. The pet fee likely will go toward grounds maintenance and/or apartment cleaning when you move out.