Girl and dog, looking for a place to live
August 4, 2016 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Have you had any luck with getting apartments to accept dogs?

So you all may have seen the writing on the wall with my previous question, but I was informed when I went in to pay rent on Monday that the landlord will be renovating and turning our apartment into a full time Air BnB and therefore not renewing the yearly lease. We need to be out by the end of August. Sad trombone. (I am in Providence RI, air bnb is pretty unregulated).

So now I have a month to find a place for myself, my partner who is out of town, and our lovely chihuahua mix Buddy, who is 15 pounds, super chill and old. We're in our late 20s, both employed full time. I have great credit and we can provide references so we're decent candidates for tenants, but unsurprisingly it's tough to find places that enthusiastically embrace dogs (yes, I understand why).

I am mostly looking at places on Craigslist and contacting places that say they accept pets or don't specify either way. With that in mind:
-Has anyone had luck in convincing a landlord that wasn't enthusiastic about a dog to accept one? So far I haven't been replying to ads that specify 'no pets' but I don't know, maybe it's worth a shot?

Things I am doing with anyone who didn't advertise that pets were welcome in the ad:
-Offering an additional security deposit or offering to otherwise negotiate on the rent.
-I have been leading with the good (employed, references, yada yada) and then sneaking the dog in at the end-- "Look, I don't want to waste your time showing this place-- we have a small, calm and older dog. Is that something you're willing to consider? We could potentially pay more in security deposit or otherwise negotiate?"
-Offering that they can meet the dog

I know that pet references are a thing, but we've only had the dog in our current apartment and a) the apartment is managed remotely, so I don't think they know much about the dogs behavior to vouch for him and b) my reaction to being told we had a month to move maaay not have made me their super favorite person. I didn't flip out on them, but I was very angry that I didn't get more of a heads up after multiple years of good tenancy and the conversation was definitely tense.
posted by geegollygosh to Pets & Animals (21 answers total)
Have a couple of cute pictures handy to show them!
posted by praemunire at 11:15 AM on August 4, 2016

To the places that do not mention whether or not dogs are permitted - don't use waffley language. "We have a 15 lb senior dog and will pay a $200 (or whatever) pet deposit."
posted by pintapicasso at 11:17 AM on August 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

If a landlord has specifically said no to pets, you are unlikely to be able to sway them. Pets can be quite a headache to landlords - noise complaints, damage to flooring from claws and urine, fleas, etc. If they've actively said no, they probably do not want that extra overhead.

Are houses within your price range? A problem with pets in shared housing like an apartment is that flea infestations can spread, so rather than a $100 exterminator bill the landlord can get hit with $500-1000. Having your own dwelling helps mitigate that.
posted by Candleman at 11:28 AM on August 4, 2016

Sorry, here's the dog in question.
posted by geegollygosh at 11:31 AM on August 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

I would assume that people who say "no pets" mean it.

I'm on the pet committee for my condo. When people violate rules, they sometimes send a "cute photo" of the pet who is off leash or not being cleaned up after . It doesn't have any effect on the decisions we make, but personally I find it profoundly annoying - like they think they don't have to obey the rules because their dog is cute.
posted by FencingGal at 11:33 AM on August 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Do you have renters insurance? If so, is your dog covered? If you're meeting a landlord who seems flexible on "no pets," letting them know that your dog is small, well-behaved, not a puppy, and insured can help put you over the top.
posted by komlord at 11:35 AM on August 4, 2016

My experience is with cats, so I realize that is a little different. The only time I've been able to get a no-pets landlord to accept a pet was when I'd already lived there and they knew I was a good tenant (I got the cat after having lived in the apartment for 2 years). With not having a prior relationship with the landlord and not being able to offer a pet reference, I would probably try to avoid wasting time on the 'no pets' listings. For listings that do not specify, I think making an offer of a specific pet deposit/pet rent is a good idea. For reference, our current apartment (which accepts pets) has a standard $300 pet deposit and $30/month pet rent. I'm sure that varies by market, but you could check around with friends of yours who have pets and see what might be standard for your area.

For places that do accept pets or don't list it specifically, I do think attaching a picture and mentioning that the dog is not a puppy will be helpful. There's a huge difference between a small, older dog and a giant dog/energetic puppy.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:40 AM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm a landlord who does not accept dogs (sorry, I love them, but ) and there is quite literally nothing you can do to change my mind (and I will evict you when you bring a dog in to live anyway). The issues with dogs are often issues with bad owners, which there's no way to screen for. (Who thinks they're a bad owner?) The risks cannot be alleviated with deposits or my meeting the dog or knowing the dog is cute. Pets--and poor pet owners--are too much of a hassle for some landlords (your renters insurance is wholly irrelevant to most of these risks).

If the listing does not say, your best bet is a prior landlord reference about your dog. "Here is my landlord reference that the dog caused no issues with other residents and no damage to the property. Will you require an additional deposit for the dog?" will help with a landlord who sometimes takes dogs and sometimes does not.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:41 AM on August 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

I've never done this, but apparently in San Francisco it's common to make a "pet resume" to include with your application.
posted by radioamy at 11:45 AM on August 4, 2016

I would not bother with any that say "no pets" . For the others, do the "pet resume" (we do a cover letter) explaining the dog's routine, how long you leave them alone, whether they are in a crate or confined to a specific area when you're out, their general activity/noise level. Provide references - ideally your current or a recent landlord, and then also if you have a dogsitter or walker. Tell them you anticipate they will want a specific deposit, but if you really want to be pro-active, offer some kind of incentive: pet rent, a 2-year lease (that way they have a guarantee they aren't going to have to turn the place over in a year and lose income), some kind of agreement re: carpeting, whatever else you can come up with that might give you an advantage.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:56 AM on August 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

-Has anyone had luck in convincing a landlord that wasn't enthusiastic about a dog to accept one?

With my landlord, I asked if he was ok with dogs. He hemmed a bit and then said "no, I've done it before, it's always a nightmare, no." I straight up told him "look, I'm getting a puppy. I need a dog in my life. You've seen my credit score and you've met me. I can live here and get a puppy in a couple months or I can go live somewhere else."

He decided it would be fine.
posted by phunniemee at 12:01 PM on August 4, 2016

I don’t know how it is where you are located, but we generally had better luck finding apartment complexes that allowed dogs than landlords of individual properties.
posted by Kriesa at 12:04 PM on August 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

I can't look up resources in your area right now, but many more progressive animal shelters and rescues will have listings and services available to match up renters with pet friendly landlords. Maybe check out your local shelters to see what they might have.

Best Friends also has some location neutral recommendations and resources.

I am a big fan of pro-pet friendly propaganda, and I think I've even written some when I was writing for an animal welfare group, but I'm not sure that's the best approach for individual renters. I think you're probably best off sticking to the resume/references and offering a deposit.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:05 PM on August 4, 2016

Semi-slimey advice based on my experience in ubercompetitive rental markets where you have to fight for the better apartments:

My boyfriend just went through this and after a frustrating series of dead ends with openly pet-friendly places, he stopped mentioning our dog until the end of the process and ended up renting a truly amazing place that didn't originally mention dogs in the ad at all (small time landlord who wasn't originally sure whether the condo building rules even allowed dogs). He never lied but he did wait until the landlord was pretty committed to him already.

His thinking: at the beginning, you're up against other tenants and they're looking for any reason at all to filter and disqualify people. At the end, they've already basically narrowed it down to you and they're more likely to be a little more thoughtful about whether they're willing to tolerate a dog. More than one place went from "no dogs" to "well, I actually just need an extra deposit, is that ok?" or "oh, it's actually fine as long as they're under 25 lbs" once we were able to have the conversation as serious prospects. Of course, some will still say no, but plenty said no to him late in the process for their own reasons (usually they were considering multiple tenants even after they said the place was his) so it's not really any more or less discouraging.

Another strategy: if she's really chill, don't mention her in writing, just bring her to the tour. Then they'll see the dog herself instead of their imagination of a "yappy, small dog" or whatever and they may be much more open-minded. I've seen this one work as well for dogs that are far more well-behaved than the sterotype of their breed suggests.

Caveat: all of this only really works with small landlords, bigger companies are far more rigid in my experience. If they say no dogs, I wouldn't waste my time.
posted by R a c h e l at 12:05 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Haven't tried, couldn't say; but if you do use a pet resume, would suggest "mature and well-trained" vs "senior" (because there are sometimes non-behavioural issues older dogs can have that might still be messy :/). Would also drop "healthy", "quiet", "well-adjusted", and "insured" somewhere in there if they apply.
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:09 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm in a different rental market, but my experience has been the same as Kriesa's--it's easier to pet-friendly rentals and clearly spelled out pet policies at professionally managed larger buildings/complexes. I know it makes no sense, since you're guaranteed to be in a situation with multiple neighbors to potentially disturb, no yard, etc. etc., but there you go. So try a search someplace like Zillow where the larger complexes advertise. That may not be your ideal housing situation if you're used to living in a smaller unit with small-scale landlords, but it's a good strategy to have as a plan B if your Craigslist search doesn't pan out.
posted by drlith at 12:23 PM on August 4, 2016

Fellow Rhode Islander here. Do you need to stay in PVD? From my past apartment hunting experience, places in the suburbs are more tolerant of dogs, especially small ones.
posted by Ruki at 1:43 PM on August 4, 2016

If you're looking at a building with a stated "no pets" policy and multiple units, pleae don't try to convince the landlord to take yours anyway. There are people (like myself!) with severe allergies, phobias, small children, aversion to noise, or whatever else who deliberately moved into a building that doesn't allow pets, so you could potentially be forcing someone else out of their home.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 2:50 PM on August 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Expensive corporate housing usually lets in pets since it is routinely used for short term families relocating and looking for houses. So, Avalon comes to mind.
posted by Nanukthedog at 2:59 PM on August 4, 2016

Avoid senior. Go with mature, small, quiet, well-behaved.
posted by bluedaisy at 6:31 PM on August 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don’t know how it is where you are located, but we generally had better luck finding apartment complexes that allowed dogs than landlords of individual properties.

I have had this go both ways. In a town where all the complexes said no pets, I didn't have a problem convincing a small landlord to allow a pet in exchange for a fee using a script much like yours. But where I am now, almost all the complexes are pet friendly so there's no need to negotiate with amateur landlords.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:05 PM on August 4, 2016

« Older 6 months post- ankle injury, and I need help!   |   Over-ear headset for high-noise env? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.