March 19,

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Know the Pet Policies for Your Rental: What You Need to Know

pet policiesWhen searching for an apartment with a pet, things can get complicated due to many rental units needing to allow pets or having pet policies restricting the breed, species, or size of pets that can be accommodated. To ensure that you don’t risk losing your security deposit or your place of residence, it’s crucial to carefully read through any pet policies before renting.

Fortunately, most renters can find a rental that allows pets. However, it’s essential to understand and follow pet policies and be a responsible tenant when living with a furry, feathered, or scaly companion.

What Are Pet Policies?

Landlords specify the types of pets allowed and whether additional deposits or monthly fees are required in their pet policies. Regardless of pet ownership, it is essential to carefully read the lease as it is a legally binding contract. This ensures a clear understanding of rental policies and reduces the likelihood of issues arising later.

In cases where the lease lacks a designated pet policy and a pet is owned or intended to be adopted, the tenant should seek approval from the landlord before signing the lease. It’s essential to clarify that pets are allowed, and the lease should be amended to reflect this to avoid future problems.

What’s Covered in a Pet Policy

Pet policies vary from one rental to another and often differ significantly. However, the language used in these policies is usually standard.

Types of pets allowed.  Pet policies may specify the types of pets permitted in the rental. For example, some procedures allow cats, not dogs, or only small animals like hamsters or bunnies. Others may only help contained animals such as fish. When reviewing the policy, paying attention to any restrictions on the type of pet allowed is essential, ensuring they align with the pet the tenant has or intends to adopt.

Number of pets allowed. Pet policies may restrict the number of pets allowed in the rental. Even if the policies are lenient, landlords may still limit tenants to one or two pets or require them to seek approval before adopting an additional pet.

Breed restrictions. Some rentals impose restrictions on certain breeds of pets. These restrictions may be due to breed-specific legislation within the city or town, insurance restrictions, or landlord preferences. Despite animal rights groups’ campaigns against them, breed restrictions are still prevalent in many rentals throughout the U.S.

Pet weight requirements. Pet policies often include weight limits for pets, which can restrict pets based on their weight. For instance, a pet policy may prohibit pets over a certain weight, such as 30 or 100 pounds. Weight requirements may indirectly exclude certain breeds without explicitly mentioning them. For example, a low weight limit may exclude many dog breeds but allow for various cats, birds, and other pets.

No-pet policies. It is essential to take these policies seriously and not attempt to sneak in or hide an animal from your landlord.

Pet deposit or monthly rent increase. Pet policies may also require tenants to pay additional fees for having a pet in their rental, such as an upfront non-refundable fee, a provisionally refundable deposit, or an increase in their monthly rent. It is important to check local laws to ensure these fees are legal. If there is a legally-viable refundable pet deposit, tenants should be clear about the expectations for returning their deposit at the end of the lease term. This clarity will increase the likelihood of getting their pet deposit back when they move out.

What About Service Animals?

Additionally, the ADA’s provisions do not apply to emotional support animals since they do not qualify as service animals. Therefore, while working around a no-pet policy with an emotional support animal is possible, there are no guarantees.

If you seek to rent with a service animal, ensure you have documentation proving their status.

Being a Good Renter With a Pet

To increase your chances of getting your security deposit back and be a good tenant and neighbor, abide by the following guidelines, even if your rental allows pets.

  • Ensure that your pet’s vaccines, licenses, and tags are current. If you have moved to a new location, find a new vet immediately to avoid gaps in your pet’s care. It’s essential to keep your pet’s vaccinations current, even if they won’t be around other animals during your lease. Additionally, obtain any necessary local licenses and tags for your pet.
  • To be a responsible tenant and pet owner, providing your pet with plenty of exercise and attention is essential. If your pet has pent-up energy, it may engage in negative behaviors such as excessive barking or destructive tendencies. You can prevent this by ensuring your pet receives the proper exercise and attention. If you’re away most of the day, consider hiring a walker or sitter to check on your pet. Ensuring your pet receives the necessary love and exercise is crucial to maintain good behavior in your apartment.
  • Always leash your dog when outside to be considerate of other tenants who may have their pets or be uncomfortable around animals.
  • Always clean up after your pet to avoid causing contention with your neighbors. Keep a waste bag holder attached to your dog’s leash so that you always have bags on hand. It is essential to clean up your dog immediately instead of leaving it lying around, intending to return later.

Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of pet policies and strive to be a responsible pet owner when renting to guarantee a positive experience.

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