4 Ways to Negotiate with Landlords about Keeping Pets in the Home

4 Ways to Negotiate with Landlords about Keeping Pets in the Home
  • Opening Intro -

    Imagine. You've found a property that ticks all the right boxes for you: the perfect neighborhood, close to a supermarket and a Saturday farmer's market, and, best of all, a park within walking distance.

    It sounds ideal, doesn't it?

    Not just for you, but also for your life companion – your pet.

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As a pet owner, finding a home that ticks all the right boxes for both you and your companion is a hard enough task. The added stress of the possibility of the landlord declining to offer your pet a place might just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Depending on your country or state’s laws, many landlords will be upfront about their pet policy when listing their properties, so you will likely get a heads-up during your property search.

It may be an uphill task trying to convince landlords to accommodate your pet, but the following strategies gleaned from negotiation courses could prove useful in winning them over:

Of Pets and the Law

In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of people that choose to keep companion animals. One survey revealed that about 72% of renters own pets, which marks a sizeable population seeking pet-friendly accommodation.

What does the law say concerning pet ownership on a rented property?

Although property owners in the US generally have a right to a “no pets clause” in a lease agreement, many cities are now passing enactments to counter this position.

The Fair Housing Act, for instance, prevents discrimination by landlords against tenants with disabilities who have a service or emotional support animal in their care.

If you are someone with a service or support animal, negotiations may be less necessary as your landlord is mandated to accommodate your pet.

When a pet is not a service or emotional support animal, property owners may still be willing to accommodate you, but charge a pet security deposit or monthly pet fees. These fees may be quite hefty but, then again, it may be worth negotiating to keep your companion or great guard dog.

Communication

It might sound simple, but talking to your landlord about potentially bringing a pet to the premises ahead of time can be a tactful negotiation skill. Most property owners are apprehensive about having pets on their property, especially if they are not in the loop.

Giving the landlord enough information beforehand may work to your advantage. For example,  you can reassure your landlord by talking about cleaning up after your pet or keeping it on a leash in common areas if the property is shared.

cat perch windowautomated cat litter box

      some “for your pet cat” ideas to consider      

Have a pet resume

Just like you want to put your best foot forward for a job interview, securing the right home is just as important, so aim for a great first impression. You can also create a resume for your pet so it puts its best paw forward with your future landlord.

Include a picture and information on its breed, size, hobbies, and obedience courses attended. Professionally formatting the resume could give you an added advantage.

Keep all records

Keeping a file of your pet’s records can also be reassuring to the landlord if you’re taking your responsibility for your pet very seriously. This can include a track of all vaccinations and medical records, and courses or training that your pet has attended.

A reference letter from a previous landlord can also be an ace up your sleeve during the lease negotiations. You can also include a few pictures of the current property you are renting to show that your pet has not scratched, clawed, or damaged any walls, doors, or low-lying areas of the property.

Arrange a meet and greet

A lot of people are uneasy about pets based on stereotypes or a previous bad experience. Organizing a meeting with the landlord to meet your pet could help convince him otherwise.

If your pet is well-behaved and friendly, that adorable face and personality might just charm the landlord. Keep your pets on a leash or harness during the meet, just in case they get over-excited or hyperactive.

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Get your pet an ID tag before the meeting. Have your pet’s name, your address and phone number engraved onto the tag.

This will show your prospective landlord that you care for your pet and can ensure its safety if it does wander. Small details like this can make the difference between you being allowed to stay with your pet on the property or not.

All in all, although you can’t guarantee that your landlord will budge, also taking into consideration that some areas have pet restriction laws, the strategies laid out above can prove fruitful in navigating your negotiations with the property owner.

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Image credit: keeping pets in a rental home by twenty20.com

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