Renting with Pets

Pet owners may have difficulty finding rental accommodations allowing pets. Sadly, the inability to find “pet-friendly” housing is a common reason that pets are surrendered to animal shelters. Fortunately, there are steps that pet owners can take to help find suitable housing that includes their pet. Here are some tips and considerations for finding accommodation for you and your furry or feathered friend.

Show That You're a Responsible Pet Owner

Ensure your pet is clean, well-trained and well-behaved. It only stands to reason that responsible pet owners will be responsible tenants, and people who take great care of their pets are likely to take great care of their homes. Landlords who don’t allow pets list fear of damage as their major concern.

Provide References

Letters from previous landlords, your veterinarian, pet sitters and neighbours will help demonstrate your level of responsibility and your pet’s good behaviour. Some pet owners prepare a résumé for their pet with a photo, licence details, vaccination record, obedience training and spay/neuter information. Be sure to mention that your pet is housebroken or litter-trained, and include a statement about how your pet acts when home alone – or how it might act if the landlord needs to enter the suite.

Cite Recent Studies Showing Pet Owners Make Great Tenants!

For instance, a 2005 study reports that tenants in pet-friendly units stay for an average of 46 months, compared to 18 months for tenants in units that don’t allow pets. In addition, the vacancy rate for pet-friendly housing was found to be significantly lower than that for housing that prohibited pets.

Highlight the Benefit of Increased Security

Animals remain at home when their guardians are out which helps to increase the security of the building. Additionally, dog owners walking their dogs in early morning and late at night can notice any suspicious activity and report it. Pets can also help to break down barriers and get neighbours interacting with one another which also helps to augment the security of a building or neighbourhood.

Extra Costs

On average, pet-accepting accommodations charge higher rents and can require an additional pet damage deposit over and above the regular deposit required for new tenants. While this can make it attractive for landlords to allow pet-owners, it also means extra expenses for you. Make sure you factor this into your rental budget.

After You Move In

Once you’ve found your rental accommodation, continue to be a responsible pet owner. Keep your pet groomed and on a leash whenever you’re outside. Pick up after your pet and occasionally ask your neighbours if they hear any noise from your animal when you’re not home. If they do, your pet may be bored or suffering from separation anxiety. See if you can adjust your schedule to come home during the day, or consider having someone check on your pet while you’re out. If you’re considerate of your neighbours, you will have a much better chance of enjoying a happy and lengthy tenancy period.

For more information, visit the following links:

Alberta Veterinary Medical Association   

BC SPCA – Pets in Rental Housing        

The Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare (FIREPAW)