Apartment living and your pet: What you need to know

Sep 20, 2019
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Many apartment complexes across the country do not allow residents to keep pets. Source: Getty.

As a pet owner, you’ll be well aware that there are limitations as to where your furry friends can accompany you. This can even extend to your home, as the rules can often differ between building owners and operators when it comes to tenants keeping animals indoors.

While many buildings do allow renters to keep pets nowadays, on the condition the house or unit is not damaged, individual property owners can choose to ban tenants from having cats and dogs living in their home. This can make it difficult to find pet-friendly rental properties when you’re searching for somewhere suitable to call home.

If you already live in an apartment and are thinking about getting a furry companion, or are considering downsizing and think apartment living could be the right move for you, there are some simple things to bear in mind to ensure that you don’t get caught out by strict ‘No Pets Allowed’ clauses. Here are some tips on how to find a rental property with your pet.

Always ask if pets are allowed

Even if a property is listed as not allowing pets, it doesn’t hurt to ask the question – as long you can respect the answer. A realestate.com.au report previously revealed tenants who asked and made an extra effort were more likely to get the outcome they want for them and their pet. Remember, just because it says no – doesn’t mean they landlord won’t be open to the idea for the right tenant.

Keep a pet reference

Just like going for a job interview, when renting with a pet it can’t hurt to put together a little resume for your companion. While they can’t sign on as a tenant, providing details about your furry friend can help a property manager or landlord to feel more relaxed about renting their home to you. The resume you should include their age, whether they’re microchipped, desexed, registered and vaccinated, their temperament and some character references from previous property managers or a vet. As part of this you should also remember to keep up-to-date health and care records for your pet to provide as evidence.

Choose carefully for you and your pet

Would you really move a big, active dog into a tiny one-bedroom unit? It’s important when you’re looking for a rental property with your pet to consider the home from their point of view as well as your own. Choosing a property more suitable for your pet will increase the chances of you finding somewhere to live. If you’re already renting and want a pet, you should think carefully about whether the pet you want will be suitable for the home you live in.

Offer to pay a pet bond

Offering a higher rate of rent in exchange for being allowed to keep your furry friend can make you more attractive as a tenant and will make it easier for you to come to a compromise with your property manager or landlord. If you can spare extra cash each week, even if it’s just $10 or $20, it could help sweeten the deal. Another option if your landlord had concerns about your pet damaging the property is to offer a pet bond. That way if something does happen, your landlord will have some financial security to cover the cost of any repairs.

Consider a trial period

Asking for a trial period can also work to sway the decision of a reluctant landlord or property manager. If they’re open to a trial period for a few months, it’ll give you an opportunity to prove your pet is doing well in the property and you can then negotiate adjustments to the lease and any other agreements.

Commit to extra cleaning

To reassure your property manager or landlord, you can offer to remove every trace of your pet’s presence when the time comes to move out. Though you’re obligated to clean when vacating a rental property anyway, offering to spray the property for fleas, deodorise the home and deep clean the carpets can make you more appealing as a pet-owning tenant.

Sign a pet agreement

So you’ve been approved for a rental property with your pet. The final step is to sign a pet agreement in writing. Whether you agreed to pay extra to keep your pet or you’ve been accepted on a trial basis, real estate experts recommend putting the agreed terms down in writing. Should any issues arise in the future, you’ll have the Pet Agreement on hand to refer to.

Do you live in an apartment? Do you have a pet, or does your contract forbid it?

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