Pet owners can be desirable tenants and owners

If you're one of the half of all American households who own a dog or cat, you know firsthand that pets can have a positive impression on our lives by providing companionship, cheering us up, and even helping us to meet new people. Research shows that pet owners have significantly lower blood pressure, fewer problems with stress, and are more responsible individuals. So naturally, pet owners can be desirable tenants and owners. But for the apartment dweller or condominium owner, pets can pose special problems.

Many landlords and management companies bar pets or have unclear policies in which some rules are broken for long-term tenants. Some living arrangements allow for fish or birds, but bar cats or dogs. In some cases, only large dogs are banned.

If you're planning to move to a building and you would like to have a pet or bring one along with you, make sure you check the lease or condo association rules to find out if they are allowed. Some buildings may have regulations regarding fish, ferrets, birds, small reptiles, or other types of house pets.

Considering that three-fourths of our population live in metropolitan areas, it's clear that a large percentage of prospective tenants are pet owners. Landlords or condo associations may be willing to change policies that automatically reject pets if both parties are prepared to discuss the following points:

  • A letter of reference from previous landlord.
  • A visit with the pet to experience its temperament.
  • Is the pet spayed or neutered? An altered cat or dog may be more docile and less likely to create a nuisance.
  • Does the pet have all its shots, including rabies, distemper, or feline leukemia?
  • If it's a dog, is it licensed?
  • May the landlord contact the veterinarian for a reference?
  • Is the pet an emotional support animal? If so, there are specific rules for landlords of over four units.
  • Is the cat or dog housebroken? Will you clean up after your pet?
  • How old is the pet? Will it make noise and be restless, or will it be well-behaved?
  • Is there more than one pet? Sometimes they can be companions for each other.
  • Is the prospective tenant willing to pay a refundable pet deposit so they are covered for any damage that may occur?
  • Will you make sure the pet is clean?

Pet owners, landlords, or condo associations should be prepared to discuss these matters objectively. After all, a good tenant who happens to have a pet is better than a negligent tenant who doesn't.

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