With rental space at a minimum and rates soaring, finding a decent, affordable apartment can be difficult, even more so if you have a dog.
Although many landlords will allow cats, rabbits, birds and reptiles, dogs are often excluded, even from “pet friendly” buildings. And you’re really in trouble if you have a pit bull or other “dangerous” breed, such as a German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher or Rottweiler.
So how do you find a dog-friendly apartment, even in a “no pets” building? Follow these 5 tips, and you might be able to impress your landlord enough that he welcomes you and your pet with open arms.
1. Get a Certificate of Training
Take your dog to basic obedience classes, and then work on earning him a Canine Good Citizenship certificate.
Not every landlord will understand what these “degrees” represent, so include a brief note clipped to your dog’s diploma.
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2. Create a Dog Résumé
You wouldn’t include your personal résumé when applying for housing, but giving your potential landlord a résumé for your dog is a personal, lighthearted way to show that your dog will contribute positively to the community.
- Highlight any training certifications.
- Include information about his history, personality, behavior and habits.
- Keep the tone light.
- Add a picture of your dog smiling.
- If possible, attach letters of references from previous landlords.
3. Give the Landlord Educational Material
If the landlord is reluctant to consider your “dangerous” breed dog as a tenant, pass along some educational information about the breed.
Watch these playful pit bulls upend the misconception of a dangerous breed:
Download an article or two from a reputable, well-known website explaining the adage, “Judge the breed, not the deed,” and you may persuade your landlord that your vicious pit bull is actually a wiggly kissing machine.
4. Arrange a Meet-and-Greet
Meeting your dog in person is the most effective way to sway a potential landlord.
- Make sure your dog smells and looks good.
- Put a fetching collar on him.
- Before the meeting, take him for a long walk or romp to tire him out.
- Bring training treats with you to keep him attentive.
- Finally, make sure he doesn’t jump up on anyone or make any messes. In other words, bring poop bags.
5. Offer a Pet Deposit
Even if your lease doesn’t include a pet deposit, offering one shows how serious you are about renting a particular apartment.
An offer of $500 — refundable when you move — might be the incentive your landlord needs to award the apartment to you.
A Note About Service Dogs
If you have a service animal — which the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines as a dog or small horse (yes, I’m serious) trained to perform a specific service to a person with a disability — no landlord can refuse to rent to you for pet-related issues, even if the building has a “no pets” policy.
The landlord reserves the right to rent to whomever he wants, of course, but he cannot deny you tenancy simply because you have a service animal.
Although you are not required to show proof, a doctor’s note goes a long way toward convincing people that your service animal is legitimate.