Pets Welcome! How to be a Good Neighbor While Renting with Pups

Dear Landlord,

Can I please bring Fido to my new apartment? I promise he won’t destroy anything (too badly, anyway).

Thanks,
Frida & Fido

Ah, renting with pets – we’ve all been there. When it comes to your four-legged friends, not all landlords or apartment communities are eager to open the front door.

So, when you’ve finally landed an apartment in the most pet-friendly apartment community in town, you’re elated. However, while you may have the green light to move in with your dog, you’ll still need to show management and your neighbors that Fido is as charming and respectful as you say he is. Here are our top tips for settling into your new apartment with your dog – and winning over the new neighbors while you're at it.
 

For starters, choose your home wisely. 

The biggest favor that you can do yourself – and your furry friend – is to choose to live in a pet-friendly apartment community. Before you move, scope out pet amenities at nearby apartment communities. Choosing a community that has things like a dog run or substantial green space will save you a headache in the long run. After all, a better exercised pet is usually a happier, more well-behaved one.

Get it in writing.

Once you’ve identified a community with a pet-friendly policy, double check that your lease has a pet addendum that explicitly states that you’re allowed to have a pet. If your lease has a no-pets clause, verbal acceptance from your landlord won’t cut it; make sure that the clause is completely removed or crossed out and initialed on both copies of the lease. It’ll ensure that you protect yourself and the property should anything go awry down the line.

Read up on local laws.

You may live in a pet-friendly community, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to comply with local laws. The last thing you’ll want is the stickler from 11B complaining that you’re violating town policy when Fido's not on a leash. Do a little research ahead of time or even check in with the property manager to ask about ordinances guiding pet ownership. Also, make sure your pet has all the proper tags, shots and permits with the town.

Bring a scooper with you… always.

It goes without saying that leaving a small present on the front lawn is a sure-fire way to win some serious enemies are your new place. The pro-tip here? Always (and we mean always) come prepared with a scooper or plastic bag whenever it’s time to walk your dog. Think of them like your keys or wallet – you never leave your apartment without them.

Set up a doggy play date.

Once you’ve had a few weeks to settle in, consider setting up a play date with another pet owner in your building. It’s a great way for you to break the ice with your neighbors, socialize your pup into their new surroundings, and earn the trust of a fellow pet owner in your community. Another pet owner will likely be able to tell you who’s the best dog groomer in town, identify the best walking trails around, or even give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to rent with pets in your community.

Introduce your charming pal.

Plan on introducing your pet to a few of your closest neighbors within a few weeks of moving in. It’ll be a great opportunity for you to reassure neighbors that your pet is not aggressive around small kids or that he prefers to not be pet by strangers. While you’re at it, exchange emergency phone numbers with the neighbors should Fido escape out the back door.

Leash ’em up in tight spaces.

Even if your community doesn’t require that you keep your dog on a leash in public spaces, it’s still a good idea to keep them on a short leash in elevators, hallways and especially around small kids. Not everyone is a dog fan – nor will everyone want to give Fido the 5-minute pat-down on their way to work – so make sure to stay attuned to body language and give a bit of personal space when you see fit!

When in doubt, check in with the neighbors.

It’s never too early to check in with your neighbors to make sure that your pet is not disturbing them while you’re gone. If there’s a problem, like excessive barking as soon as you leave the apartment, plan on formulating an action plan and telling your neighbors about it. For example, letting them know that you’ll be working with a dog trainer or dog walker will send the signal that you’re taking a proactive approach to resolving the problem.

While you may encounter a few slip ups along the way (honestly, who hasn’t forgotten to pick up after the dog?!), try to simply treat your neighbors how you'd like to be treated. After all, it's the people that make a house a home, and the same should apply to your furry friends!


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