It’s a perennial problem. You need an apartment, preferably one close to work, within walking distance of cafes and coffee shops, and oh, by the way, has the welcome mat open for my 20-lb, Maine Coon.
Studies have shown, time after time, that people generally prefer spending time with their pets than they do children or family members. The general gist of these polls is that animals help the majority of us destress with little negative feedback from their pets.
So, why is it so hard to find an apartment that allows pets? The answer comes, primarily from the general nature of being a landlord today. Thirty or forty years ago, the owner of the apartment collected the rent, signed all the agreements including leasing, took all the deposits and maintained the building. Now, however, landlords are more than happy to turn all of the traditional work over to a management company.
In that way, leasing an apartment today is often similar to getting a job. If an applicant has a relative or friend that can put in a good word for you in the company and you can snag an interview with the boss or owner, 9 times out of 10, you’ve got a great chance at getting the job. However, if you have to send in your resume and application to the HR Department, well then you’re just another cog in the wheel.
The vast majority of management companies flat out don’t allow pets because it’s more work to sort out the good pet tenants from the bad. So it’s just easier for the management company to set a blanket, “no pet policy.”
So the first rule of thumb is to search for private landlords. There are fewer of them around, and potential tenants may weed out quite a few “dream apartments,” but in searching for private, hands-on landlords, a person with a pet will generally have a much better over-all leasing experience.
Once a prospective tenant has found a private landlord and a desirable location, it’s worth it to try and stake out the apartment complex around dinner time, between 5 and 6 p.m. and attempt to interview other clients with dogs.
By scheduling personal interviews with other tenants, you can get the real lay of the land on whether the apartment is pet-friendly or not. Try to find out as much as possible about the landlord as possible, and then try to arrange a time when it’s possible to interview the prospective landlord with your pet.
Make sure your cat or dog is groomed, is wearing a collar, and do your best to show the landlord how well behaved your pet it. It’s even possible to create a pet-resume and attach letters from dog handlers or groomers as to what a good pet you have.
Of course, not every managed place is the office of pet-friendly. Finding pet friendly apartments Tampa is a lot easier than doing so in Los Angeles or New York City.
Why? Because the smaller the city, the more pet-friendly apartments tend to be.
Some pet advocates advocate trying to get a pet certified by a therapist as a service animal, with the rightful knowledge that discriminating against a service animal is generally against the law.
Personally, that’s not recommended, for while a tenant might succeed in forcing a landlord to accept the pet, they then need to incredibly cautious the pet doesn’t scratch or damage anything. It’s far better to pay a pet deposit in a landlord-friendly environment than be going to court constantly to keep your pet.
Above all, tenants should do their very best to maintain trust with the landlord by using area rugs, artificial turf and baby gates to keep their pets in “safe” areas inside the apartment. And when outside, take pets to the park rather than doing their daily “constitutional” in the landlord’s front yard.