26 Feb 10 Pet Hacks for Happy Apartment Living
By Victoria Fejfar, Freelance Journalist
Renting an apartment with a pet can be a struggle fraught with lots of problems, but I have made it over six months now living with a rescue puppy in my apartment. You might wonder, how can I keep my cat or dog and still keep my apartment from being completely destroyed so I’m not in huge trouble when I move out? I’ve found a few ways to maintain balance and keep both my landlord happy–as well as my puppy.
Here are some hacks to managing an apartment rental with pet rent, getting your security deposit back, and maintaining your good rental history.
Managing Animal Smells
Just like people, pets all have smells too. Pet smells, though, run risks of leaving a smell in your walls or carpeting that your landlord won’t like. Instead, try covering your furniture with covers that can easily be washed, bathing pets more often, and making sure their bedding stays clean.
Protecting Floors and Furniture
For dogs and cats alike, nails can be hard on floors and furniture. Scratched up floors, cabinets, and walls can affect getting your security deposit back. Try tricks like using nail covers, scratching posts, and cutting your pet’s nails to prevent damage.
Rent Ready and Fur Free
As part of making sure your apartment is ‘rent ready’ for someone else’s lease, pet fur needs to be cleaned up. Vacuuming is not always enough. Fur removal brooms, lint rollers, or a pet grooming glove will help alleviate this headache. Getting your carpets professionally cleaned also removes unwanted hair and odor. Be sure to check your lease to see if professional cleaning is required when you move out.
Potty Training Pets
Moving somewhere new means learning new habits. Potty training can be a problem if you have a new schedule, if you don’t have direct outdoor access, or even by just leaving the litter box in a new place. Tools like training pads, setting a potty schedule for dogs, or limiting where your cat can go for the first couple days in your new place can help them learn much more quickly and help prevent disasters.
Pets as Good Tenants Too
As a tenant, there are unacceptable behaviors like not paying rent that will cause problems with your landlord. But you’re not the only tenant expected to hold up your lease. Your pet is expected to behave, too. Be sure to learn about your building’s ‘pet rules’ are, so you can prevent problem behaviors that might get you (and your pet) into trouble, like your pet making too much noise while you are gone during the day.
Multiple Pets – Potential Problems
It is not surprising that it takes some time for both people and pets to adjust when moving somewhere new. Before getting another pet, talk to your landlord to see if it is covered in your pet deposit. Ask your vet, search online, or inquire at the pet store for tips on how to introduce new pets to each other. This will help avoid breaking your rental agreement, ‘pet rules’, and any potential damages from introducing a new pet into your family. For tips on introducing new pets check out the sites like the Humane Society and PetMD.
When you apply for your apartment rental, prepare a ‘pet resume’ to help market that your pet will not be a problem. Prepare documentation of things like your rental history, pet’s vet records, training receipts or certificates, and anything else that can show good behavior. Maybe even offer to let your landlord meet your pet. For ideas on writing a pet resume, good places to look for examples are on websites and blogs about apartment renting.
Some buildings, or even cities, have restrictions against certain breeds of dogs, or even certain types of animals, such as exotic birds or reptiles. Before you sign your lease, make sure that the type of animal you have is allowed, because these restrictions are a legitimate reason for your landlord to not approve your application, or for you to get a pet during your lease. For example, in Watford City, North Dakota, ordinance 7-302 prohibits any person to keep or own a pit bull dog within the city limits. Taking actions that violate your agreement could even get you evicted.
What Does a Pet Deposit Cover?
For many apartment rentals, your pet deposit isn’t a deposit at all. Many apartments charge a “pet fee” instead, which is a non-refundable fee to cover costs that landlords regularly deal with in damages or cleaning after having a pet in the unit. All animals can be subject to this, except for service animals. If you’re worried about getting your refundable security deposit back, just make sure when you leave that it’s still ‘rent ready’ like when you moved in.
Just know that if your pet causes damage to your apartment, you might be held accountable for them and still be required to pay for any repairs.
Know Your Rental Agreement!
When all else fails, know what you’re signing in your lease. Know what is in your specific landlord’s ‘pet rent’ agreement or lease clause, and know which state laws apply to your situation. Reading before you sign can help prevent problems later and help make sure you know what you’re agreeing to.
Hopefully these tips will help keep you and your landlord happy so you can get your security deposit back. It can be complicated to add your pet roommate, but there are lots of resources out there to help it go smoothly.
About the Author: Victoria is a freelance journalist, who also happens to be a student pursuing Informatics and International Studies at the University of Iowa. In her spare time she is involved with multiple student organizations and volunteering, and she spends a lot of time in the weight room. If you don’t find her in class or at the gym, you’ll most likely find her hiding around campus with a good book.