Tips for Finding Pet-Friendly Housing
- Don’t leave it until the last minute. If you are renting now, start to check ads and contact real estate agents and rental agencies at least six weeks before your lease expires.
- Prepare a pet resume. If previous tenants have been a bad experience for a landlord, this resume will help show that you are a responsible pet owner who has vaccinated, altered, trained and socialized your pet. Think of it as a reference for your pet.
- Be prepared to negotiate. Offer to pay a higher damage deposit and to sign an inclusion to the lease which clearly outlines that you are willing and prepared to accept the consequences of your pet’s behaviour.
- Landlords who have a few rental properties may be more willing to negotiate than the management of large complexes.
- Ask around your local dog shows, agility clubs, shelters and rescues for recommendations
- Try putting your own ad in the rental section as if it was placed by your pet, emphasizing the things that would appeal to landlords ie .. housetrained, cleanliness, obedience trained, does not bark during the day, etc…
- Remind the landlord or manager that dog owners create safer and friendlier communities, because they are out walking their dogs in the neighbourhood.
- Get the agreement in writing, see Sample Pet Policy. Make sure that any no-pets clause is removed from the lease (or crossed out and initialed) before you sign it… on all copies of the lease. If there are additional damage deposits required for permission, make sure they are included in the aggreement and the lease.
- Do an inspection of the premises before moving in, with the landlord or the manager. Make sure that any deficiencies or damages are noted and that you both have signed the document and that you both have your own copy.
SAMPLE PET POLICY
The following is the pet policy of ________________________________ which was developed in cooperation with tenants of_________________________________ and in keeping with federal law. The purpose of this policy is to provide standards to insure the best possible environment for both pet owners and non pet owners and to insure the responsible care of pets. All tenants and applicants will read and sign a copy of this policy.
1. Any tenant or applicant who wishes to keep a pet shall so inform management.1
2. A Pet Rider shall be signed immediately by the tenant.
3. Common household pets shall include domesticated dogs, cats, rodents, fish, birds and turtles kept for pleasure. No tenant shall have more than two cats or dogs.
4. The size of pets is not specifically limited.2 However owners must be able to maintain control over their pets.
5. All female dogs over the age of six months and all female cats over the age of five months must be spayed. All male dogs over the age of eight months and all male cats over the age of ten months must be neutered. If health problems prevent such spaying or neutering, a veterinarian’s certificate will be necessary to allow the pet to become or continue to be a resident of the development.
6. Pets shall be restrained (cats and dogs must be leashed) when on development property outside the owner’s apartment or visiting in the apartment of another resident. (If the housing manager designates a specific fenced pet walking area, pets could be unrestrained in those areas.)
7. Pet owners shall be liable for damage caused by their pets. While it is strongly suggested that pet owners obtain liability insurance, it is recognized that this is not possible for many tenants. The landlord may require of the tenant payment of a pet deposit for each dog or cat of $50 ($100 in carpeted apartments). Arrangements may be made to allow the tenant to pay the deposit over a period of time.
8. Pet owners shall provide the name and address of a pet caretaker who will assume responsibility for the care of their pets should the owner be unable to, as well as the name and address of the veterinarian responsible for the pet’s healthcare. If the tenant is unable to provide the name of a pet caretaker, he/she shall make alternative arrangements for pet care in an emergency and shall notify management of these arrangements.3 This information will be updated annually.
1 A voluntary community screening committee may be established to review the suitability of the pet and the ability of the tenant to keep the pet, and forward its recommendations to the Housing Management Department so that they can be alerted to potential problems and discuss them with the tenant or applicant. Screening committee membership should include a veterinarian, a member of the Pet Committee in the housing unit if such a group exists and representatives of responsible and knowledgeable community pet groups (e.g. animal trainers, animal behavior specialists, humane society personnel). They shall use written procedures for the screening process. The committee could also assist tenants seeking to acquire a suitable pet.
2 Size of a dog is not directly related to its desirability as a resident. Larger dogs are often more docile, quieter and more affectionate than smaller dogs. An older dog will probably be quieter than a younger dog no matter what its size.
3 An owner’s absence or inability to care for a pet in a short-term emergency should not mean that the pet is necessarily removed from the apartment. Some animals, especially cats, become very attached to their homes and are better off if they are cared for in the home.
TENANT MAINTENANCE OBLIGATIONS
Tenant agree to promptly and regularly perform the following obligations in respect to ownership of a pet:
Keep the unit and its patios, if any, clean and free of pet odors, insect infestation and pet feces, urine, waste and litter.
· restrain and prevent the pet from gnawing, chewing, scratching or otherwise defacing the doors, walls, windows and floor coverings of the unit, other units and the common area, buildings, landscaping and shrubs.
· Immediately remove, clean up and appropriately dispose of any pet feces, waste and litter deposited by the tenant’s pet on the common grounds, shrubs, flower beds, sidewalks, accessways, parking lots and streets of the project. Dispose of pet waste and litter using procedures for the tenant’s specific building.
; Tenant agrees to properly and al all times observe the following restrictions on ownership of a pet:
· Tenant shall exercise proper restraint of a pet so as to prevent it from becoming a nuisance to any other tenant or person. Cats and dogs will wear an identification collar at all times.
· The pet shall be maintained and properly licensed and inoculated as required by local, county or state statute, ordinance or health code.
· Pets of vicious or dangerous disposition shall not be permitted. Any pet duly determined to constitute under state or local law as a nuisance or threat may be required to be immediately removed.
· A pet will not be permitted to disturb the health, safety, rights, comfort or peaceful and quiet enjoyment of other tenants.
· Pets except service animals will not be permitted to enter eating or gathering areas, except where properly restrained and where such is not offensive to the other tenants of the project. Pets except service animals will not enter areas designated as no-pet areas by the housing manager.
· Tenants shall be responsible for the proper care and feeding of their pets. If the health or safety of the pet is threatened by the death or incapacity of the pet owner or if the pet is left unattended for 24 hours, the project manager may contact the responsible party designated by the pet owner in the pet registration. If that person is unavailable or unwilling to care for the pet, the project manager may contact the appropriate state or local authority to remove and care for the pet. If neither source of aid is available, the manager may enter the premises, remove the pet and arrange for pet care for no less than 30 days to protect the pet. Funds for such care will come from the tenant’s pet deposit.
Each housing project shall consider establishing a Pet Committee made up of interested owners of pets in the project. The Pet Committee could visit with each new pet owner to explain specific procedures in the project and distribute a Pet Owner’s Packet containing helpful materials, such as documents listing telephone numbers of community resource groups that can assist pet owners.
The committee could receive any written complaints against pet owners given to the management and work with the pet owner to resolve the complaints. The committee could also suggest policies appropriate to their pets particular building and might compile a list of non-pet owners willing to exercise or care for pets in an emergency for a reasonable fee.
NOTE: Animals individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefits of a person with a disability are excluded from this policy.
SAMPLE PET RIDER
This pet rider to the lease between_________________________(tenant) and
________________________(management) is made part of the lease enter into
between the parties on_______________________.
1. Both parties have read and signed the pet policy in effect for the complex which is attached
2. The tenant shall keep the following pet (s) in a responsible manner and provide proper care for them.