Most American households have at least one pet—that’s about 85 million families, or roughly 67 percent of the population. Despite making up the majority of the country, pet owners often have difficulty finding pet-friendly rentals.
Although the majority of pet owners are responsible and conscientious, many landlords and property owners have strict “no pets allowed” policies out of concern for apartment damage or liability. Other apartment buildings may have weight and breed restrictions in place, limiting the size or type of pet allowed under the lease terms.
Finding a new home that is comfortable for both you and your pet is a must. Here are five tips to help you secure a lease with a great pet-friendly apartment that suits all your needs:
1. Choose a neighborhood that’s pet-friendly.
Before you start sifting through rental property listings, narrow down your search by choosing a few neighborhoods that would work for you and your pet. If you’ve got a dog, for example, it’s best to live near a park, running trail, or other outdoor area where you can take them for a walk. Cats may be disturbed by too many lights or noises, so cat owners might want to avoid street-facing apartments.
Additionally, look into whether there are any veterinarians, pet groomers, training schools, pet sitters, pet walkers, or other services you may need within the area you are considering.
2. Research local laws and landlord policies concerning pet owners.
Once you’ve chosen a few neighborhoods to consider, dig a little deeper into the pet policies of the local government and residence areas. Many cities and states have unique laws that restrict or penalize certain behaviors by a pet or pet owner. Throughout the entire state of Texas, for example, all cat or dog owners must have their pets vaccinated for rabies by the time they are four months old.
Some places also have specific laws that protect pet owners’ rights or offer other benefits. For example, the city of Chicago helped create a network of dog parks for residents across the city. Pet owners purchase a specific permit and tag to gain access to dozens of these well-maintained pet havens.
Make sure you are comfortable with the local laws and amenities that apply to your potential new home before signing a rental agreement.
3. Look into the pet policies of your top building choices.
Many buildings have specific limitations on the size, breed, and quantity of pets that a tenant can have. Make sure your pet is permitted under the pet policies of your top buildings.
Unless you have a qualifying service animal, expect to pay something extra to move in with your pet. Although not all landlords and housing associations require additional fees for pets, the vast majority do. These costs will be in addition to any taxes you must pay or permits you must buy from the city or state.
There are three common types of costs that pet-owners must pay when renting a new home:
- Pet fees: A one-time, non-refundable fee charged when moving into your new place with an applicable pet.
- Pet rent: An amount added to your monthly rent for the duration of your agreement, usually between $25 – $100 per month.
- Pet deposits: An additional down payment tacked onto your initial deposit that is refundable upon leaving the apartment without leaving any damage by the pet.
4. Get your pet insurance and vaccine records in order.
While not all apartments require tenants to purchase renters insurance, most luxury buildings do. Renters insurance with pet coverage is often the best option for any pet owner signing a lease.
Depending on the policy, this type of coverage gives pet owners protection against having to pay out of pocket for damage caused by their pet to the property or other people. Individual pet insurance plans usually work in the same way as pet protection riders on renters insurance policies. The cost of comprehensive renters insurance or pet insurance varies according to the species and breed of pet you’ve got, the city you live in, and a couple other factors.
Many landlords and housing groups consider taking on a tenant with a pet to be an added liability. Paying one of the additional pet owner fees discussed previously helps mitigate this additional risk, but you can also expect to be asked to provide evidence that your pet is up-to-date on any required vaccines and meets all applicable state or city regulations as well.
5. Search for properties that offer a truly pet-friendly environment.
Making sure a new home is right for you and your pet comes down to more than paying extra deposit fees or finding nearby groomers. You should look into the background of the property you are considering to discover what amenities you can expect and how pet owners have felt about living there in the past.
Amenity information and reviews from pet owners can be found online for most properties, making it easier than ever for pet owners to find a building community that embraces their furry companion. A growing number of properties are being designed specifically with pet owners in mind, and these buildings are filled with amenities dedicated to your pet’s well-being and comfort.
All of Draper and Kramer’s luxury properties welcome pets as a valuable part of their residents’ lives and the community. In Chicago, for example, Draper and Kramer’s Burnham Pointe property features an indoor dog park where tenants can play inside with their beloved pets. Residents at Draper and Kramer’s Eleven Thirty apartments can have their pets spoiled at the dog spa located inside the building. Their building management teams can even help organize dog walking services and related referrals for tenants.
When you make one of these buildings your home, there is no doubt that you and your pet are seen as part of the community. To learn more about Draper and Kramer’s pet-friendly luxury properties, visit draperandkramer.com.