3 Tips to Finding Rentals With Your Pet

3 Tips to Finding Rentals With Your Pet

By Jennifer Riner, Zillow

Finding a new apartment can be a complicated process, and the hunt is substantially more challenging when searching for rentals that accept pets. Prospective tenants with furry friends in tow should prepare for associated fees and regulations beyond the standard lease agreement.

To properly prepare for a rental search with a domesticated companion, consider the following tips.

Prepare your paperwork

Both professional property managers and private condo owners may request vaccination or licensing records from rental applicants with pets. Documentation of your dog or cat’s good behavior provides landlords with peace of mind that the unit will remain in good condition and other residents will not be at risk from aggressive animals. Go the extra mile with reference letters from previous landlords or veterinarians. While not a standard requirement, recommendations add credibility to help you stand out in a highly competitive rental market.

Budget flexibly

Unless your companion is a documented service animal, you may face an upfront, nonrefundable pet fee or refundable deposit, typically ranging between $200 and $500. In addition, your new building or rental home may charge “pet rent,” potentially adding $15 to $30 (or more) to your overall rental cost each month. Check your state laws to understand your rights as a renter before signing a new lease. For instance, landlords in Minnesota are not legally prohibited from charging a pet rent, deposit or fee – nor do they face price limitations for such add-ons. The median Minneapolis one-bedroom rental costs $1,260 per month, which doesn’t include security deposits or pet policies. So, maintain a detailed list of your anticipated expenses to curtail financial worry down the road.

Prioritize pet needs

Dogs (and cats) need room to roam, which makes a tiny apartment uncomfortable for certain breeds and sizes. Keep in mind that many large apartment complexes and condo associations have breed restrictions that could limit the scope of your apartment search from the start. Renting from a private owner provides more leeway for pet owners – especially those who sell themselves as responsible and considerate. Search for apartments using pet-friendly filters or search for words like “pet-friendly,” “dog run,” or “park” near rental homes where your furry friends can thrive.

New pet owners should factor in extra time for an upcoming apartment search, though you don’t want to start your search too far in advance since the market moves quickly. Between the additional paperwork, varying restrictions and possible expenses, allow at least one month to pick the perfect place.