Rooming with Rufus: A Renter’s Guide to Pets

Every year, thousands of people work themselves up into a frenzy over the daunting task of trying to find a pet-friendly apartment. The entire process of phoning one landlord after another, only to hear the dreaded phrase, “No pets allowed!” is enough to discourage just about anyone. However, with a little planning, there are ways to make the experience much easier on everyone, including your pet! Read on to find out how to adapt a pet to your apartment or vice versa.

Apartment-Friendly Pets

Many people who have already found their perfect apartment may consider having a pet as the next step. When we usually think of domestic pets, cats and dogs are the first thing that comes to mind. Even if a landlord does not allow these types of animals, there may still be other options. For example, many landlords typically don’t have a problem with pet fish, or even small turtles or hermit crabs, all of which can be contained in a glass tank. There are also other small mammals that are great fun to have as pets, like rabbits, hedgehogs, ferrets, hamsters, and guinea pigs. Even though the creature might seem quite small, it is generally best to check with your landlord before getting a pet. If the landlord had previously said that pets are not allowed, it is still worth double-checking with them. They might not have had hamsters in mind when they made the initial declaration.

If the landlord does allow larger pets, take a step back and examine your lifestyle. Think about how much you can manage in terms of time and money. Cats and dogs normally need a fair amount of investment in terms of grooming, vet bills, food, toys, and other supplies. Don’t forget that, since they can typically live between fifteen to twenty years, it will be a long-term commitment. Where do you see yourself fifteen years from now? If future plans include backpacking in Europe for a year, it might not be a good idea to get a puppy! Noise and energy levels are additional factors to consider. Landlords and other tenants alike usually prefer animals with a quiet, mellow temperament.

Pet-Friendly Apartments

People who already have a pet and are planning on moving usually also face a hard time trying to find a landlord who will agree to their furry friends. Instead of feeling frustrated, try to understand their concerns, and then address them. Many landlords refuse pets for reasons such as noise, smells, damage to carpets, floors and walls, animal waste around the building and so on. If you have a well-trained and well-behaved pet, it is a good idea to ask your previous landlords for reference letters regarding the animal. You might also think about getting references from the animal’s trainer (if applicable) and the vet. Receiving this type of information from a peer is reassuring to a landlord.

Don’t limit yourself to online listings. Look around and talk to other pet owners you know. If any of them know of vacancies in their building, your housing search could quickly be successful in no time! Remember that apartment landlords typically prefer cats or small dogs. Make sure to look around and ensure that the space and the grounds are suitable for your pet. If you have a dog, is there a backyard or a park nearby? If the animal is old, injured, or disabled, are there elevators or will it have to climb stairs? Talk to some of the other pet owners in the building, if possible, to find out more about life quality for pets in the area. Before signing the lease, ensure that there is a clause that allows you to keep the pet within your apartment. If not, the landlord might be able to evict a tenant for keeping a pet without prior permission. Be honest and upfront with the landlord about your pet. You might even ask if they would like to meet the animal to allay any doubts they might have.