How to find a pet-friendly rental

- Every year thousands of pets end up in shelters or sometimes worse because their owners have to relocate and can't find a suitable rental that accepts pets. 

But there are strategies you can employ to improve the chances of keeping your pet with you. Real estate expert John Adams joined Good Day Atlanta to discuss a few options. 

Q:  John, what’s this all about?
A:  It’s a fact that over six million dogs and cats enter shelters each year in this country. Of those, approximately 1.5 million are euthanized annually, a tragedy no one wants perpetuated.
But the truth of the matter is that many of those pets entry the shelter because their owners are unable to find rental housing that will accept pets.

Q:  Why would a landlord say "no" to pets?
A:  From my perspective as a professional landlord, my primary responsibility is to the property. My job is to protect the property from damages and keep my units occupied and generating revenue.
And the reality is that pets are typically hard on rentals.
But there are strategies an owner can employ to improve their chances of finding a pet-friendly rental property.

Q:  OK, where do we start?

1.  Give yourself plenty of time. If you find out today that you have to move by tomorrow night, the odds of finding exactly what you desire are small.  In contrast, if you start looking several months in advance, you are much more likely to find what you seek.

2. Think Mom & Pop landlords.  A property manager who oversees several hundred units has little latitude when it comes to pet policies. He or she is not the decision maker, and in a situation like that, your request for an exception will simply waste your time. In contrast, if you are talking to the actual owner of a rental property, that owner is calling the shots, and can make an exception without starting a revolution among the remaining renters.

3. Create a resume for your pet. The manager is worried your pet may poop on the carpets, or even worse, get loose and bite a neighborhood child. This is how lawsuits get started. Put those fears by creating a multi-page information sheet including photos of your pet playing with children and interacting with other pets calmly. Include a letter of recommendation from your veterinarian stating that the pet is well socialized, and include a vaccination record. Finally, a letter from your current or past landlord will go a long way to making the owner give  your pet an opportunity.

4. Get your own insurance. Include a letter from your  renters insurance agent stating that the agency is aware that this renter has a specific pet and that their renters insurance policy will cover liability incurred by that pet.

5. Be prepared to pay for two things:

A)  A pet deposit that is separate and above the regular security deposit.  The more you offer, the more the owner will like it. And best of all, this deposit is refundable if your pet behaves.

B)  A non-refundable pet fee to be used to de-flea and deodorize the premises after you move out. 

C)  Pet rent in addition to the regular rent. The fact is that even a good pet does cause additional wear and tear to any property, and the owner does deserve to be compensated. The amount is negotiable.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Your pet is counting on YOU to find a rental that accepts pets. Start your search early and put your BEST PAW forward! 

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