Convincing a Landlord to Allow Your Dog

Many rental units in apartment buildings or privately owned rental properties have restrictions on dog ownership, most barring animals altogether from those properties. This can create a shortage of rental units that will allow tenants with animals. But all is not lost for renters with canine companions. As a long-term landlord who happily accepts tenants with certain types of pets, I can give you some guidance on the best ways to convince a landlord to let you and your dog rent their property.

Rental property owners generally earn the most money and do the least amount of management work when tenants stay on for multiple years. Now, consider that since there are fewer rentals available for pet owners, this usually means that pet owners stay for multiple years when they rent. Bring this up with your landlord and let him or her know that you plan to stay for several years in their property. Also, remind them that they will not have to go through the entire re-leasing process of showing the property to tenants, and helping new tenants move in and old ones move out for several years because you plan to stay.

Keep in mind that insurance can be an issue with certain dog breeds, like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. More types are listed in this Trupanion article . While those breeds can be fantastic pets if properly trained, some insurance companies have learned that they have a higher incidence of biting others, so they're typically excluded from coverage. Some landlords will also simply reject certain breeds for whatever reason, which they have the right to do. Regardless, if you want to increase your chances of having your landlord accept your pet, you should carry renter’s insurance that covers liability related to your dog. This way, if your dog does hurt another person or pet, your insurance can cover it. Letting the owner know that you will carry adequate coverage for your pet should help ease their concerns about problems with tenants who have dogs.

You could also offer to pay a larger pet deposit or some additional rent to cover wear and tear related to having a dog. A reasonable figure might be an additional 25% security deposit and maybe 5%-10% additional rent, depending on the size and type of pet you have. You should also offer to bring your pet to meet the owner for their consideration. This will be a big help if you have a well-behaved animal. But if your animal isn’t well behaved, you should avoid wasting the owner’s time, especially when he or she probably will reject your request due to your dog's unruly behavior.

Barking is another issue with dogs, especially in apartment or condominium complexes. Bigger dogs have much louder barks, which could be an issue. To alleviate this cause of concern, train your pet before bringing it to meet the landlord. Bark collars that gently vibrate on a dog's neck can work very well and are humane to use. In fact, my dog Buckley (picture above), at one point was called Barkley because he just wouldn't keep quiet! We invested $30 in a bark collar and after about three weeks of use, his excessive barking ceased. He hasn’t had the collar on since then, and everyone is happy about his newfound appreciation of less vocal communication.

Finally, cleaning up after your pet is another issue you should address when convincing your landlord to let your pup live with you. As the dog owner, you need to show your potential landlord that you will be respectful to the property grounds. This is especially true if it is an apartment complex or condominium community. No one wants to see or clean up after someone else’s pet, so a promise to a potential landlord that you will always handle it should help.

As with many items about renting property, making a strong promise to convince the landlord, and then holding to your promise will go a long way in persuading a landlord to take a little risk they may not have taken before. So if you've been a model tenant, or know that you will be, show your landlord that you and your pup deserve a chance to rent.