How to Ask Your Landlord About Changing Pet Policies

If you’re a pet owner — or aspire to be one — you probably don’t want to wait for homeownership. Our pets bring us joy, and we want to give them the best lives possible.

Unfortunately, many landlords fail to see the upside. Many apartment complexes ban pets outright, and this creates problems for pet owners who rent. According to one study, the top reasons for animal relinquishment include moving and renting

If you’re an apartment hunter with a pet, you’ve likely come up against a brick wall. Many refuse to rent to pet people, and the ones who do sometimes require a substantial deposit.

What’s a pet parent on a budget to do? The solution — talk it out. With a bit of persuasion, it might just be possible to convince a landlord to update their policies and let you move in with your pet.

Understand the Landlord’s Point of View

Before you rush into your argument, it’s essential to understand the other person’s point of view. Why do most landlords refuse to rent to pet owners? The answer is bad past experiences.

A poorly trained pet can be destructive, costing apartment owners thousands of dollars in repairs. 

Cats can scratch at carpeting and walls, while dogs can chew on doorways and furniture. Both can ruin flooring if not properly trained.

While you might be a stellar pet owner, many people aren’t. Your job is to convince landlords that you and your pet are prepared for the responsibilities of rental life. 

Show Off Your Pet’s Credentials

Say you have great credit and an excellent rental history. You’ve already proven yourself, so it will be easier to suggest an introduction between your pet and your landlord.

If they need assurance that you’re a responsible pet owner, sometimes a meeting is all it takes to get a “yes.”

Want to go above and beyond? The next step is to show off your well-behaved pet with a resume. Include a photo, health history and training certifications.

Cathy Klein, a professional pet resume designer, claims she’s received requests for more than just cats and dogs — she’s also done CVs for snakes. This type of document will show a landlord you’re a responsible pet owner who is serious about renting.

Sign a Pet Owner Agreement

A resume is just one step in showcasing your commitment. If your lease doesn’t include pets at all, your landlord may be nervous about things getting out of hand.

To combat this, you can ask to sign a pet owner agreement, a separate document from the lease. Tenancy is contingent on your following the rules. 

Outline guidelines for pet care you agree to follow while you live in the apartment, such as:

  • Keep dogs on-leash
  • Clean up all pet messes
  • Pay for property damage
  • Prevent barking and jumping

Offer an Additional Deposit

If you have a tough landlord who won’t budge, then it’s time to break out your negotiation skills. Offer an extra security deposit to cover potential damages.

If none occurs by the end of your tenancy, you get this money back. An additional $200 to $300 as a pet deposit is considered reasonable in many real estate markets.

If an extra deposit isn’t in your budget, ask the landlord if they’re willing to drop the deposit amount. You can suggest pet rent as an alternative, an additional $25 or so per month.

While this isn’t refundable, it’s a smaller upfront cost the landlord can still use to mitigate the expense of cleaning and repairs.

Finding a Landlord With Flexible Pet Policies

Rules, regulations and insurance guidelines typically restrict large apartment managers. Many are unable to rent to pet owners even if they want to. Others or dogs under a specific weight.

Instead, look for a private landlord with more flexibility.

Check out local listings for apartments in your area.

You can talk to those who request no pets and see if they’re willing to negotiate. With enough persuasion — such as a pet resume and owner agreement — they might be willing to reconsider. 

Do you want to find an apartment that allows pets?

Look for understanding landlords and hand out your pet’s resume. Sign an owner agreement and consider an additional deposit. If you’re having difficulty at big complexes, seek private landlords. In the end, the reward is having your furry friend by your side.