Finding a place to rent during the pandemic—on top of inflation—is no easy feat. So what makes it even harder? Finding a place to rent with pets.
The United States is being hit with record-breaking rent prices. To make matters worse, landlords are less flexible with allowing pets in addition to charging outrageous monthly pet-rent fees. This begs the question: WHY is it so hard to find a place to rent with a pet?
It’s hard to rent with pets because many landlords are wary of the extra repair costs associated with tenants with pets, pet-related fees make it more costly to rent with pets, and a small number of irresponsible pet owners are making it more costly and difficult for everyone.
Let’s dig a little deeper into the reasons why it’s so hard to rent with pets, and see if we can find some solutions that will make life easier for pet owners who rent.
Landlords Are Reluctant to Allow Pets in Their Rental Properties
Rental properties are a great way to invest in extra monthly income. Pets, however, can throw a wrench in the plan for some landlords. Landlords have legal rights to set specific rules and regulations for their properties.
Landlords hold high liability for renting to pet owners. Aside from damage to the property, dust and allergens left behind on upholstery and carpet, and noise complaints, landlords may bear a portion of responsibility if the animal injures another person.
No matter how great your pet is, the financial risks may be too great to convince your landlord to allow a pet in their rental property.
Why are so many landlords against pets in their properties?
Landlords are reluctant to rent to pet owners for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- pet urine and defecation stains and damages
- scratches, tears, other property and/or furniture damage
- noise problems
- community concerns
- excessive wear and tear
- regular rental inspections
- aggressive or poorly-trained dogs scaring or biting other tenants
- horror stories they’ve heard from other property managers
No matter how well-trained your beloved furry friend is, some landlords may still not allow pets.
Consequently, landlords may be missing out on some of the best tenants as pets do add benefits and tenants with pets usually stick around long-term. In fact, a 2021 Inclusive Housing Report showed that “on average, residents in pet-friendly housing stay 21% longer than those in non-pet-friendly housing”. That adds up to almost 10 extra months of rent and income security for landlords.
Fewer Rental Properties Allow Pets
As if your apartment search wasn’t already hard enough, it seems that every year fewer and fewer property owners are interested in providing pet-friendly rentals. That means when a pet-friendly rental becomes available, the competition can be fierce. In fact, the same 2021 Inclusive Housing Report from above showed that a whopping 72% of renters with pets said that pet-friendly housing is hard to find.
Landlords may not know that the following situations are possible when renting to tenants with pets:
- make more money
- reduce tenant turnover
- happier tenants
- tenants with pets tend to make more money
Lots of Extra Effort Required to Rent With Pets
Renting with pets tends to require more effort on the part of renters. Usually this amounts to needing to provide extra documentation that proves that your pet isn’t going to cause problems. It’s important as a responsible tenant and pet owner that you’re aware of the pet policies where you live, even if that means reading through a lot of extra paperwork.
Pet addendums, which are sometimes also called a “pet agreement”, may need to be added to the terms of the original rental agreement in order to add a pet. Like any other kind of lease addendum, these require some time to draw up and negotiate with your landlord.
Some prospective landlords will make exceptions if potential tenants can provide them with further assurance of good pet behavior. Pet resumes and other proof of a well-behaved pet are not unheard of. And finally, some landlords may want to personally meet your pet before allowing them to move into the unit with you.
Pet Fees for Rentals are Expensive – Sometimes Prohibitively So
If you found the rental of your dreams, and are trying to persuade the landlord to allow pets, it may necessary to pay more to rent that property with your pet. Many landlords demand extra pet fees—and they can be outrageous. Along with paying extra money to cover property damage, this may be to ward off potential pet-owning tenants.
The following fees may be included in your new lease:
- Pet fees
- Pet deposits
- Pet rents
- Hidden costs?
Pet fees are typically a one-time, non-refundable fee for the landlord allowing your pet on their property. They can also cover potential damages and costs in the future. Pet fees are usually assessed for specific damages caused by your pet, and can really add up if your pet damages the rental property several times.
Differing from pet fees, the pet deposit is usually a one-time, refundable fee that can cover any potential future damage to the landlord’s property. Pet deposits are usually between $50 and $500, but be aware that some landlords might want an entire month’s rent for pet deposit in addition to a regular security deposit.
Pet rent is a monthly additional fee—on top of your rent—that permits the pet to stay on the premises. It also is used to cover the excessive wear and tear from having the pet on the property. Pet rent is the least popular type of pet fee with renters, many of whom feel like they’re just being gouged for extra money by a greedy landlord – this is why we have a guide on how to get out of paying pet rent.
Hidden costs can be included in the rental lease agreement. These can include both refundable and non-refundable extra fees for cleaning, sanitizing, and preparation.
Irresponsible Pet Owners Make It Harder for Everyone Else
While the vast majority of renters with pets are model tenants, like with just about anything in life, all it takes is a few bad apples to spoil the bunch. There are just enough irresponsible pet owners out there ruin it for everyone. Sometimes all it takes is one nightmare tenant who allows their dog to scratch the wooden floors or dig up the yard to leave a bad taste in a landlord’s mouth.
Irresponsible pet owners allow bad behavior from their animals. This includes having dangerous breeds or teaching them to be aggressive. A dog who is permitted to excessively bark can also disturb the community.
Another surefire way to convince a landlord to never rent to pet owners is tenants not properly cleaning up after and disposing of pet waste. This can cause infection as sitting feces can contaminate the groundwater. The landlord may even be liable for the damage!
If you have a neighbor in your rental that is an irresponsible pet owner, it’s best to report their pet-related violations when you see them occur – the sooner they reign in their unruly pet or get evicted, the better things will be for responsible renters with pets.
How to Make Renting with Pets Easier
Bottom line, finding a rental is hard—and finding pet-friendly landlords is even harder. To have the best chance of success in your apartment hunt, we recommend that you:
- discuss with your potential landlord the benefits of allowing your pet to come with you
- offer a pet interview and provide a pet resume to show the landlord your pet—and you—can be trusted
- offer to pay a pet deposit to cover any potential damages incurred by your pet
Competition is steep for pet owners in terms of renting, so be sure to start your renting journey early. Commit to being a good pet owner and renter by cleaning up after them and preserving the property. Landlords want to know you will treat their investment as if it were your own.
Pet owners tend to be happier and stay longer, so make sure your landlord knows why you are the perfect pet-owning renter!