"Pets: The Other Family Members"

Pets are wonderful. Their furry bodies rubbing against you, their unconditional love, their leisure ethic…all make you go doe-eyed at the thought of your little baby. They’re sooo cute! You gotta love ‘em!

Well, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but not everyone likes animals. In fact, most people only like their own pets and look suspiciously on other people’s pets. Landlords and property management companies tend to fall into this category. They don’t want your cat or dog causing problems for other renters or future occupants of your unit. They don’t want the carpet ruined or woodwork damaged. You can understand: It’s their property. However, in the interest of attracting a wider rental applicant pool, many landlords will allow pets if certain conditions are met. Here’s a list of things to consider when living with a pet in a rental, just to help you consider the bigger picture.


10 Tips for Living with a Pet in a Rental Unit:

1)      Be prepared to be subjected to lot of rules. Many property management companies will let you rent from them if you are willing to sign an additional lease for your pet (or a clause within your lease will address the conditions on which you will be allowed to have a pet in your unit).

2)      Be prepared to pay. Most landlords will require you to put down a deposit against damages for your pet. This will be in addition to your security deposit.    

3)      Be prepared to pay more rent. Again, most landlords will require that you pay an additional rent each month for your furry friend. This is charged so that the landlord can cover any additional costs of needing to replace carpet sooner, etc. Look at it like it’s a convenience fee: You get to have Fluffy in your apartment and, for the privilege, you are charged a fee.

4)      Moving to a new home will be harder on your pet than it will be on you. According to recent studies, nearly 40% of pets experience emotional stress as a result of a move to a new place.

5)      Keeping your little fur ball quiet may be a challenge. Most neighbors do not want to hear a dog barking down the hall. That gets old immediately. If your dog or cat likes to express itself vocally, you may want to reconsider the whole renting thing.

6)      Be sure to keep any animal odors completely eliminated. Don’t wait to change Fifi’s litter box until it reeks of ammonia and you could form clay sculptures from her urine-crusted litter. Change the litter daily or don’t own a cat, it’s as simple as that.

7)      For dog owners: Be sure to clean up after your dog when you take it outside. Nobody, I mean, nobody wants to step in something your dog left behind.

8)      Consider the location of your unit to the building’s exit. Especially if you have a dog, it will quickly become a hassle to take your dog down a long cavernous hallway and a couple flights of stairs to take it outside a few times a day.

9)      Have lots of toys and distractions for your pet. If your pet is home alone for several hours a day, it will likely get bored. Make sure there are lots of toys to play with and rotate them out every week or so. This way the toys will have a “newness” for your pet which will keep it more interested in playing with the toys (rather than being naughty and finding things to get into for entertainment’s sake).  

10)   Make sure you have the time and energy to properly care for your pet. We’ve all seen lazy pet owners, don’t be one. A pet is a huge time and financial commitment; be sure you can hang in there for several years of day-in and day-out care and responsibility for another life.


Pets can and do enhance our lives in many ways every day. Clearly comprehending what it means to own a pet in a rental will help prepare your for the responsibility and duties that lie on the road ahead.  If you understand and accept these challenges, then you will most likely have a wonderful experience renting and having a pet live with you.  Enjoy! 

Garden-Level Living

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