14 Tips to be a great tenant if you have pets

Very few landlords and apartment buildings allow pets. Pets can be a nuisance to the neighbors and cause damage to the property, adding to the landlord’s liability. We have 14 tips to help you with being a great tenant. With a well-behaved pet, you can avoid the hassle of eviction and moving (again!). Follow these tips – both your landlord and your neighbors will like you!

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Considering the disadvantages of pets, many landlords do not allow tenants with pets in their rental properties. Pets are prone to cause damages to the property and they may also disturb neighbors from enjoying peace and quiet in their own apartment. For example, a barking dog or a squawking bird while sounds lovely to you, it may be an annoyance to the neighbor. Also, dogs can scratch the walls of a building, and even damage installed equipment, which will need repair.

If you are a tenant and a lover of pet, there are certain measures you can take to make yourself a great tenant who will not be a nuisance to other tenants and the landlord. Here are some tips on how to be a great tenant if you have a pet or pets.

What does your landlord want really?

Your landlord has spent their hard-earned money and perhaps a massive part of their life savings in the house they are renting to you. The primary goal of every landlord is to ensure that the house is taken good care of. In addition to this, they rely on the rental income to cover their expenses including mortgage, property taxes, and perhaps depend on the rent for their living expenses. Any damage to the property will cost them time, money, and headache.

Every landlord wants a serene environment where nothing disturbs other tenants or leads to complaints from other tenants. If your pet causes trouble in the neighborhood, a landlord could be held accountable for the pet’s actions. For example, if you have a pet snake that left the home, it could scare other residents in the neighborhood. If others in the neighborhood complained to the landlord that your pet is a nuisance, the landlord may have to do something about it. In a few states and locations, the landlord is not liable and therefore may choose not to act. However, in most states, the landlord will have to focus on removing the pet from the premises. Otherwise, they could be held liable for your pet’s actions once they are aware that your pet is a problem.

Tenant turnover causes additional headaches for the landlord. They’ve to clean the house, neutralize the pet odor, paint (again!), and repair damages caused by the pet. Therefore, renting to a tenant with pets brings higher risks.

The security of lives and properties is a core value to every caring landlord. If anything at all poses a threat to the well-being of other tenants, they'll do everything to remedy the situation. In the United States alone, over 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year while about 800,000 are required to undergo medical treatments.

4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the U.S. About half the injured are children.

Since pets are prone to destroying home properties, scratch the walls, chew the floors and furniture, landlords will always want to protect their building against this. They will likely introduce a pet policy to restrict the movement of the pet within the premises such as always keeping the pets leashed in common areas.

What should you do as a tenant?

If you want to be a great tenant and you have a pet, we recommend that you take precautions. Let's take a look at some of them:

Seek your landlord's permission first

First and foremost, you must seek the approval of your current or prospective landlord before you bring in a pet with you. While some landlords and apartment communities allow pets, others don’t. Don’t try to sneak in a pet. This is grounds for eviction in most states when there’s an explicit no-pet policy on the lease. An eviction record on you may make it harder for you to find other rental properties.

Learn about your options if you have a support animal for your disability

Provide references

If possible, try to get a letter of recommendation from your previous landlord, stating that you always took good care of the house before you moved out. However, this can only be possible if you have a cordial relationship with your previous landlord and your pet was well-behaved.

Housetrain your pet

Dogs should be housetrained. Tether your dog when you are not around. Humane society has some tips on how to confine the animal. Sometimes, making a crate for your pet is the best option. Keep your exotic pets caged. When you are not around, make plans for someone to take care of your pets.

Breed matters

Some dog breeds are quieter than others and may be more suitable for an apartment community. While some breeds are more prone to biting, all dogs are capable of doing this. Therefore, some apartment communities have restrictions based on both the type of the dog as well as its weight. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, pitbull, mixed breed, German shepherd, terrier, and rottweiler rank high amongst the dogs that are likely to bite. Also, dogs weighing between 66 and 100 pounds have a higher likelihood of biting.

Give an outlet for energy

Dogs have a lot of energy. Allowing them to exercise outdoors a few times a day will help with their frustration of being confined to a small space.

Maintain a schedule

Pets can be trained to stick to a schedule. Take them out for walks and feed them on a schedule. Knowing when to expect something makes them better pets. Reward them for good behavior.

How many pets?

Local laws may limit how many pets you are allowed in homes. Be compliant. In addition to this, the landlord may also limit the number of pets allowed. You might find it easier to open a mini zoo if you have four dogs, seven cats, three turtles, a fish tank with sharks, a venomous snake, and a monkey than finding a landlord who will accept these. Even the city may not allow some of these animals.

Visit the doctor

Keep your pets updated on their vaccines. A regular health checkup will keep your pet healthy and the neighbors happy.

Build a castle

Okay, who are we to judge if you want to treat your pet like a king or queen? Perhaps you don’t want to build them the palace of Versailles, but you can certainly make a comfortable home for your lovely pet and settle for a Ritz-Carlton. We recommend using indoor / outdoor rugs to protect the floor in their corner of the house. These can be easily hosed off. Put a comfortable bed, a few toys, and something to eat and drink. The same holds true for crates as well.

Soundproof the crate

Every pet animal has a distinct sound it makes. Dog barks, bird chirps and squawks, and cat meows. Okay – we’ll stop the nursery rhyme here, but you get the picture! These sounds can be very annoying to people around you and make them report you to the landlord. To avoid such a scenario, ensure that you soundproof your pet house so that the noise that leaves the inner part of the cage doesn't reach the outside, or at least, the intensity is reduced. There are different soundproofing materials you can use to cover the pet house or cage and they are very affordable. They are certainly much cheaper than having to pack and move to another community.

Beware of allergies

While you may be okay with pet hairs, this could cause allergy issues for others who share the same HVAC in the building. If your pet sheds, it is the right thing for you to be aware of this, take precautions, and not bother other people in the building.

Carry renters’ insurance

Choose one that covers you for the harm caused to someone by your pet. Beware that some insurance specifically excludes certain dog breeds and exotic animals. Also, place a notice board at your entry to warn people of the pets in your house.

Pay extra

Your landlord will likely charge you a higher rent and a higher security deposit because of pets. They could also charge you non-refundable pet fees. Pets leave bad odors, destroy plants, scratch walls and floors, etc. While your pet is your family, it’s a liability for the landlord. They will also have to get extra insurance because of the pet. Therefore, it is fair for them to ask for a higher rent. Keep in mind that just because they are getting extra money doesn’t mean that your pet can cause extensive damages to the property. This could cost your security deposit and more.

Convince your landlord that you will take care of the pet

Sometimes, all your landlord needs is the assurance that you'll monitor or restrict the movement of your pet within the perimeter of the building and take good care of it. The last thing they want to do is to clean after your pet from different nooks and crannies. Removing pet hair from the rental unit takes several rounds of deep cleaning. If you stay on top of these things, it will help your landlord and also give you a place to stay for the long run.

Pets give a lot of joy to the owner. By taking responsibility and acting with accountability, you can be a great tenant. Landlords want long-term trouble-free tenants. You and your landlord could strike a good partnership to make both of your lives easy and that of the people living around you.

HomeKasa offers the best property management software to manage interactions with your landlord, pay rents, complete move-in and move-out checklists, etc. It’s free, get started now. You can also find additional resources for renters in our blogs.

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