Nobody likes the process of moving. Aside from the labor of packing up all your belongings and updating your mailing address with the post office, pet parents also have the added pressure of finding a safe, reasonably priced, and pet‑friendly place to stay.
Many rental properties, if they allow pets at all, tack pet fees onto their lease agreements. Maybe there’s an expensive, non‑refundable pet deposit. Maybe renters have to pay an extra pet rent on top of the monthly rent. In some cases, they require both. All that can be overwhelming, and sometimes, as a pet parent, it feels like you’re paying a penalty to keep your family together.
If you’re moving with a pet but are having trouble finding affordable options, take a deep breath and read through our tips to help make your search easier.
1. Give Yourself Time
As soon as you know you need to move, start your search. The more time you have to look, the less stress you’ll feel once the move begins. Narrow down which possible neighborhoods you may wish to live in and look for homes in that area.
Once you do find a few properties that are tops on your rental wish list, be sure to read all the fine print. You don’t want to move into your new place and find that certain breeds are not allowed. If the lease you’re given to sign does not explicitly state what types of pets you’re allowed to have, and how many, be sure to add that information in writing, sign it, and have it signed by the landlord or office manager. This protects you in the future by showing you’re following the rules.
2. Use Your Local Resources
There are a lot of resources available to help you find a home that your pet can move into with you. Your local animal shelter, real estate agent, or humane society may have lists of pet‑friendly housing options. You can also reach out to friends and family who are pet owners and ask them for recommendations for places to live.
Keep an eye out for community rental guidebooks at supermarkets or libraries and newspaper classified sections for leads. Your family’s next home may be hidden in their pages.
Do an internet search and use the keywords “pet‑friendly housing” with your desired location and see what pops up. Online forms may ask about any pets that you have to help you narrow down the list of available options.
3. Look for Private Landlords
Apartment complexes are more likely to have standard no‑pets policies or strict guidelines and fees for pet owners. They may have also had bad experiences with pets and their owners in the past, and they may be less likely to rent to pet parents in general. Instead, look for homes that are offered by private landlords who may be renting out just one or two properties. They may be more open to renting to people with pets.
If it’s not clear from an advertisement that a place is pet‑friendly, ask. Tell the landlord or property manager about your pet(s), and be ready to address any concerns they may have by telling positive stories about you and your pet. Show them how well your pet fits into your family and the community.
4. Polish Your Pet’s Resume
Just like you would prepare a resume to introduce yourself to potential employers, your pet should have documentation to help landlords and office managers get to know them too. A “pet resume” can go a long way in easing any fears that your pet may cause trouble for the property owners or your new neighbors.
Show off your pet’s personality with photos and lists of their favorite activities. Include recommendation letters from current or past landlords that praise their good behavior and a letter from a veterinarian that shows your pet has been spayed or neutered, vaccinated, and is getting appropriate control for parasites like worms and fleas. If your pet has completed any training courses or other certifications, throw those in too.