Finding the right apartment is hard enough, and if you’re a pet owner, this can make the task even more difficult. Fortunately, if you give yourself enough time and are willing to compromise, locating a pet-friendly apartment won’t be too bad.
There are several things to remember when hunting for an apartment with your pet. Regardless of whether you own a pet before moving in, it is vital to be aware of the apartment community’s pet policies should you adopt a pet throughout your lease agreement.
The Search for a Pet-Friendly Apartment Community
When seeking apartments in your preferred neighborhoods, make it easy for yourself and research the communities that openly advertise pet-friendly. Furthermore, it would be wise to speak with the local Humane Society or animal shelter asking if they could provide the names of apartment communities around the area that allow pets.
More often than not, you will find luxury apartment communities that provide amenities for pets, such as a dog wash station or a balcony permitting dogs. While not every apartment community will offer pet amenities, most pet-friendly apartments will advertise being located near a pet-permitted park, walking trail, or even a dog park within walking distance.
More Than One Way to Solve a Problem
If you adopted a pet but currently reside in an apartment community that does not allow pets, you can always ask a trusted family member or friend to watch your pet for you while you find an apartment that allows pets.
Perhaps not the first choice, but you could always see if a kennel will house your pet while you search for a new apartment. If you can’t find someone to watch your pet or a kennel simply isn’t an option, try to find a pet-friendly community for the time being. It may not be your “ideal” apartment community, but living with your pet is still better than leaving them at a kennel.
Likewise, you can always speak to the landlord and see if they will agree to a month-to-month lease, so when you do find your preferred pet-friendly apartment, you can seize the opportunity and move out within a few days or weeks rather than a couple of months, as most fixed-term leases require a thirty to sixty-day notice, and sometimes even more time.
Never Try to Hide Your Pet
Never attempt to keep your pet hidden from your landlord or other residents, especially if animals aren’t allowed in your apartment. Dogs bark and need to be let out, which makes them too obvious, and a cat’s litter box has an unmistakable odor, making it all too easy to get caught and possibly evicted, which will ruin your credibility among landlords. Always speak with your landlord or rental manager before bringing a pet back to your apartment.
Unfortunately, not all pets are allowed, as well as not all dog breeds are allowed just because an apartment permits dogs. Additionally, it is critical to know if you will be required to pay any fees or extra rent for having a pet, as this will have to be added to your budget. Failure to do so can result in a non-negotiable eviction, and no one wants that on their record.
Even Your Pet Will Need A Resume
It may sound silly, but it’s the truth. Make a resume about your pet, where you adopted them, if they were bred or rescued, their immunization record, and a short description of their disposition. Your landlord must have as much information as possible about your pet.
Other necessary information about your pet would be the breed, weight, age if they have been spayed or neutered if your pet is housetrained, and any training certificates. Some apartments may be reluctant to allow you to adopt a puppy, as they like to chew while they’re teething and tend to make messes in the apartment. You will end up paying for these messes and damages one way or another.
If you have a previous landlord to refer your current landlord to about your pet, it will only help your cause.
Know the Pet Policy Inside-and-Out, Read the Fine Print
Before you sign any lease, you should have thoroughly read over the lease agreement multiple times while paying extra attention to rules regarding pets. It is crucial to understand all your added financial responsibilities, such as a pet deposit or increased monthly rent, even if it’s only about twenty dollars. Be sure to read your lease comprehensively at the start of your lease agreement to save yourself a headache should you decide to adopt a pet midway through the term.
A Happy Pet Makes for a Happy Apartment
Pets behave better when they’re happy. Ensure you spend enough quality time with your dog and get them out of the apartment for a walk and playtime before or after work each day. As with children, it is necessary to expend any extra energy to keep your dog calm while you are away. When too much energy builds up in your dog, nervous behaviors and separation anxiety are more likely to make themselves apparent. Ensure you have plenty of toys to keep your dog busy while working or consider hiring a dog walker. You may want to budget for a day or two of doggy daycare during the workweek, too, so your dog can socialize.
Protect Your Apartment Against Your Pet
Pets, specifically untrained puppies and kittens, are a liability to your security deposit.
If there are any rooms or spaces you specifically want to keep your pet out of, you need to purchase a pet gate (perhaps a few if you have multiple rooms to block off).
Toys are great, but if you don’t have a large enough selection, your pet may lose interest and start chewing on your furniture, appliances, shoes, and anything else they can get their teeth on.
Like a Kong, consider purchasing puzzle toys to keep your pet occupied longer than classic toys.
You will also want to keep your pet’s food and water bowl over a hard-surfaced floor, such as the kitchen, so when they make a mess eating or drinking, it will make cleaning up after them significantly easier.
A Good Pet Neighbor is A Good Pet Owner
Apartment communities can be close quarters, which means you need to be a good neighbor and properly train your pet to get accustomed to apartment living. Whenever walking through your apartment building and property, you should always have your dog on a leash. Furthering this point, whenever you take your dog out, you should always have plastic bags to clean up after them.
Depending on your dog’s breed, their “guard drive” may be higher or lower, which means some breeds will require more extensive training to teach them they do not have to bark at every person they see or noise they hear. When you train your dog to be comfortable and not compelled to guard you all the time, this will make not only your neighbors happy but you as well, as you will not have hound ceaselessly barking in your apartment.
Be a responsible pet owner, and you will be a responsible neighbor whom everyone appreciates and looks forward to seeing you and your pet out and about.