If you’ve worried about finding quality housing that will welcome your pet, you’re in good company. Navigating a tight rental market can be especially frustrating for pet owners. However, it is possible to negotiate your pet with your landlord whether you’ve found a home you would like to rent or are hoping to bring a furry friend into your current residence.
Acquire a landlord permission letter for pets
It’s important to get your landlord’s permission upfront. You can even come to your landlord prepared with a pet agreement to help start the conversation. You’ll want to make sure you have documentation of your landlord’s permission to have your pet on the property. 
The law allows for landlord discretion.
Even if your landlord grants you approval to have a furry friend in your home, you still want to clearly read your lease agreement and make sure you understand the rules and restrictions around which pets are allowed on the property. The law allows for landlord discretion in determining whether or not tenants can own a pet as well as what breeds and sizes of animals are permitted. The law also grants landlords the right to impose fees related to pets. It’s important to make sure you’re carefully going over your landlord’s pet policy to make sure you understand any restrictions or limitations before signing your lease. 
Tips for negotiating pets with your landlord
Some landlords are weary of having pets on their property because of the potential noise and damage they can cause. This can be a barrier to finding housing that will allow pets, but there are several ways you can help improve your chances of finding a place for you and your furry friend to call home.
Be proactive in the housing search
Give yourself as much time as possible to find pet-friendly housing. If you don’t currently have a pet but are thinking of getting one in the future, you might want to find housing that will allow pets well before bringing one home. You can make your search easier by researching animal-friendly listings online. Ask your friends, family and social media connections if they happen to know of any pet-friendly landlords or available properties. 
Come to the negotiations prepared
- Pet rent: You can offer pet rent. In most cases, landlords will require it anyway, but offering it helps to show good faith. It should be noted that pet rent is separate from your base rent and should not be incrementally increased as your base rent is increased.
- Pet deposit: Additionally, you can suggest a pet deposit for any potential damages. Pet deposits are also separate from your standard deposit and cannot legally be withheld for any dispute unrelated to your pet.
- Sample pet agreement: There are resources online that can help provide a sample pet agreement for you to share with your landlord. Coming prepared with one will help show you’re a thoughtful and knowledgeable tenant.
- Pet resume with references: Show your landlord that your furry friend is well-behaved by sharing any training certifications your pet has. Even sharing photos of your pet playing with children can help show that your pet is friendly and won’t be a problem to your neighbors, and your veterinarian can also help by providing documentation of your pet’s vaccine records and a letter of reference.
- Research building policies and local laws that might work in your favor: Sometimes the law is on your side when it comes to having a pet in your rental home. For example, in New York, if you get a pet and the building board doesn’t start a court proceeding against you within 3 months, you’re allowed to keep your pet. Research the laws in your state and find out whether there are any that could apply to your situation.
- Reasonable accommodation: If you have an emotional, physical or psychiatric disability, the law allows you to keep an assistive animal, and you’re legally protected from discrimination as a tenant. The law also requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for you and your pet if your pet is an emotional support animal (ESA). The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 both protect assistive pets in cases where landlords prohibit pets. In this instance, you may have to produce documentation that your pet is an assistive animal. This documentation can usually be provided by a health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, doctor or licensed therapist.
Common pet complaints and problems for renters
Even if your landlord grants approval for your pet, you might still deal with some challenges that could even result in eviction: 
- Lease documentation specifies no pets: It’s important to read over your lease carefully and suggest any necessary changes before signing. If your lease stipulates that pets aren’t allowed on the property, make sure this is removed before signing and bringing a pet into the residence.
- New ownership of property decides to not allow pets: If your place of residence is bought by new ownership that chooses not to allow pets, you may be asked to remove your pet or to leave the property.
- Complaints from other tenants: This could cause your landlord to issue an eviction notice.
Pets are an important part of the family that help bring comfort and joy into our homes. Protect your pet like family with Nationwide’s Pet Insurance Policies.
 “Negotiating for Pets: Tips for Success,” bhrentersalliance.org/2017/09/negotiating-for-pets/
 ”Information for renters with pets,” humanesociety.org/resources/information-renters-pets
 “How to Negotiate Pets with Skeptical Landlords,” emotionalpetsupport.com/2020/03/how-to-negotiate-pets-with-skeptical-landlords/
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