Your Guide to Renting with Pets

Yellow labrador with a leash in its mouth.

You are looking to rent or sign a lease. However, you would like to include a pet in your household. How can you discuss the topic with prospective realtors and landlords and find out what you need to know to ensure a happy home for your pet? Learn more about what to ask when renting with pets.

What Additional Expenses Can You Expect When Renting with Pets?

Many apartment complexes will allow you to keep a small, relatively quiet pet with an additional charge. Here are some of the right questions to ask the rental property representative:

  • Are there any additional monthly fees or a deposit for renting with a pet? What animals will incur an additional charge? Are caged animals or those in fish tanks excluded from additional charges? What about companion or service animals?
  • Can I rent with multiple pets? Will the fees increase for each animal that resides with me?
  • Can the lease be written with an addendum to change fees if a pet is added or removed from the household and rental location?

Additional expenses may be incurred if your pet damages property in or around the property. A “pet deposit” is common as landlords must consider the possibility of pet-related damage to a rental property. Clarify the refund policy for the pet deposit.

The landlord or owner may ask that renters with pets carry additional renter’s liability insurance. If this is required, the insurance policy needs to cover any damage that results from pet accidents and must not have a dog bite exclusion.

Fines may apply when renters and their pet(s) breaks the rules set forth and a lease may be terminated in such a situation. It is a good idea to consider all costs of renting with pets prior to agreeing to the terms and conditions of a rental or lease agreement.

What Should You Know About the Types of Animals Accepted?

When looking at various apartments that are pet-friendly, you should understand that not every location may welcome certain types of pets or breeds that are commonly viewed as aggressive. It is common in pet-friendly communities that some breeds are considered “banned breeds.” Some exotic animals may not be allowed.

In general, ask about:

  • Size and breed restrictions;
  • Any needed licenses, identification or proof of vaccinations; and
  • Pet policies including noise restrictions, on/off leash rules and any on-site dog parks.

 

Review your rental agreement before signing. Pet rules should be added into the lease and your continued tenancy may be contingent on following the rules set forth within the agreement. The types of animals allowed should be specified on the agreement as well as any limit. The agreement may also state that only a tenant’s pets are permitted. This means that you cannot care for other people’s pets in your apartment. Sometimes a rental agreement requires approval from the owner before a specific animals is allowed. Make sure to carefully read the rental agreement and ask additional questions as necessary.

Have You Read the Fine Print?

Landlords may have it written in the agreement that they can change the pet policy with due notice. Such a term should be included within the pet rules and often considers 30 days “reasonable notice.” This may mean that you may have to rehome a pet that at some point in the future is no longer acceptable to the landlord. You want to enjoy sharing your new home with your pet. Take the time to find the right pet-friendly apartment and rental agreement.