There’s a lot to ponder when renting a home or apartment, from the size and location to the monthly cost. Unfortunately, pets aren’t always taken into consideration when their humans are looking for a new rental.

Pets are family, so don’t let yours get lost in the shuffle. Carefully consider the needs of your pet (and your needs as a pet owner!) if you’re a renter.

Before You Rent with Pets

Black dog sits at balcony

Being a pet parent is a commitment. Consider your pets when moving, just as you would a spouse or roommate.  

Below are things to keep in mind when hunting for your new pad.

Go Pet-Friendly

Always double, triple, and quadruple-check to make sure your new rental is pet-friendly! Trying to sneak around a landlord or bend the rules will only cause more trouble in the long run.

  • Make sure it’s written in your lease that you’re allowed to have a pet in your unit. Don’t depend on a verbal agreement, especially if a new management company takes over or a flippant landlord changes their mind.
  • Provide references to prove having animals won’t be an issue for you. A former landlord or old neighbor is ideal!

Nearby Pet Resources

You want to live near your favorite places, like a gym, trendy restaurant, or even a great coffee shop. But you may find yourself needing to make a quick run to the store for pet supplies – and you’ll regret not finding a convenient place to do so.

  • Find the nearest animal hospital or emergency vet. If your pet has an accident, you’ll want to get them help immediately.
  • Look for a local pet store for last-minute food, litter, or poop bag runs!

Scout the Area

Proximity to public transportation or work is usually at the top of most renter’s lists. While these are important, you should consider other things when scoping out a potential new home for you and your furry little friend.

  • Know the bathroom areas for your dog. Some apartment complexes have designated dog runs; but more specifically, they have areas where your animal isn’t allowed.
  • Feel out the area and make sure you’re comfortable. Think of the late nights and early mornings you need to run your pup outside – will you feel safe?

Pick the Right Unit

Everyone wants exposed brick and a big bay window, but make sure the rest of the rental is conducive for you and your fur babies.

  • Make sure it’s accessible for you and your pets. Lots of stairs can be tough on older animals (and carrying heavy bags of pet food or litter upstairs can be a pain for you!).
  • Assess the space. This is not usually a problem for cats, but certain dogs require more space to run around.

Living in a Rental with Pets

Cat reading a note on desk

Finding the perfect pet-friendly rental is only the beginning. It takes a lot of effort and commitment to be both a good pet owner and renter and these tips will help you easily achieve both.

Keep it Clean

Cleaning up after yourself is one thing but cleaning up after an animal is a different battle. As you know, it’s all part of being a pet parent.

  • Don’t do any damage. Some landlords will not return your initial deposit if things are chewed, walls are destroyed, the unit smells, or carpets are stained.
  • Respect your roommates. Ask in advance if the people you’re living with have any allergies. Even if they don’t, respect their cleaning preferences just the same!

Be a Good Neighbor

Anything outside of your unit is shared space. Keep this in mind when you and your pet interact with your neighbors.

  • Have control of your pet, especially if they’re prone to being aggressive. Ensure they have a muzzle, leash, or anything else they need when interacting with others. If your dog is friendly, some people still may not want your canine jumping on them.
  • Talk to your neighbors about interacting with your pet. If you politely tell your neighbors not to touch or feed your pet without asking, they’re sure to be respectful of your wishes.

Respect the Rules

Always do a thorough readthrough of your lease and any building or HOA agreements. You don’t want to cause a problem over something silly.

  • Keep the noise down, especially if you share walls. Noise travels easily through apartment buildings and your neighbors won’t want to hear a barking dog in the middle of the night. Even if you’re renting a house, make sure the sound of your noisy animals doesn’t carry next door.
  • Know the rules of the building, complex, or neighborhood. Some landlords require dogs to always be leashed when outside of their units. Similarly, some properties don’t allow cats to wander freely outside their homes.

A dog having treats on the street

If you’re searching for an apartment, resources like let you look at rentals with a cat or dog-friendly filter. Always make sure your housing is welcoming to animals and remain understanding and respectful of your landlord and neighbors. 

Happy house hunting!