Why Should a Landlord Rent to You?

Landlords have a long list of valid reasons not to rent to pet owners: damages caused by pets, barking, off-leash issues, community complaints, etc. Be understanding of their concerns, let them know how you plan to avoid these problems, and most importantly, sweeten the deal. Let them know what is in it for them!  Be an extraordinary tenant.

Keep your dog on a leash
Pick up after your pets
Create an exercise schedule
Have a backup plan for bad behavior
Follow all posted pet policies

Why Should a Landlord Rent to You?

  • Retention Turnover is expensive for landlords. You have put a lot of time and effort into your search, and you are likely looking to stay awhile. If so, let the property owner know! Retention of excellent tenants saves them time, money, & effort in finding a new tenant and eliminates risk.
  • Additional Revenue – Pet Rent.  As expenses and taxes for rental properties are high, additional revenue streams are very attractive for landlords. If pet rent is not already required, offer to pay a reasonable monthly fee to keep your dog and motivate management. The additional income helps them keep the property clean and free of pet hair and dirt. Remember, instead of two footprints on every excursion, there are at least six when you include just one dog!
  • Reduced Risk – Offer Extra Insurance & Deposit.
    • Renters Insurance If your new landlord is still on the fence, offer to acquire renter’s insurance and/or dog liability insurance to help ensure that he will not be liable in the case of a bite. You may find a list of insurance companies in your area by searching our insurance page.
    • Pet Deposit- An extra refundable deposit is a motivating incentive for a landlord to put their trust in you. They can rest assured that damages will be covered. You have the opportunity to show that you are confident that you and your family will be awesome tenants and you are not worried that you will lose your deposit. Be sure to put your deposit agreement in writing.
  • High-Quality Residents- The scarcity of pet-friendly rentals results in high-quality applicants & appreciative, responsible tenants. You have the opportunity to live around pet-loving neighbors in an often tight-night community. Pet sitters & walkers right next door!

It is important to be aware of current, and any future, laws that may affect your family. DO NOT move to a city that has a breed ban, even if you find a landlord who will rent to you.

You can find all current cases of BSL on the BSL Map provided by

Animal Farm Foundation.

To learn more about BSL and BDL visit our partners:
Animal Farm Foundation 
Best Friends Animal Society

This is your chance to set your family apart; Use these keys to open doors to a new home for your family.

  • Start your search EARLY, at LEAST 2-3 months before you move. Finding pet-friendly housing takes more time and effort, give yourself time to find the right place for your family.
  • Keep Calling Around – You are likely not going to find a place in 5 calls or even 15 calls; make 100 phone calls if you have to! You must be persistent and sell yourself and your family. Some places may say no pets or breed restrictions, but are willing to budge if you approach it correctly. Offer to take steps to reduce the risk on their end; extra deposit, insurance, or pet rent. Check to see if they include mixes of all banned breeds, and if not, get a DNA test!  Always be polite and respectful no matter what they reply.
  • Be Positive and Prepared
    • Create a resume that shows all of your dog’s best traits. This may seem silly, but it gives you an opportunity to showcase all of your dog’s best qualities, and put the landlord at ease by addressing some major concerns right of the bat.
    • Gather References from those around you who can attest to your dog’s good behavior. This can help prove that your dog is consistently well behaved around different people in different situations. Great references include; Dog trainer, veterinarian/technicians, past landlord, neighbors, groomer, daycare provider/walker, family members, and friends.
    • Bring veterinary records and proof of registration. Veterinary records can show your habit of responsible ownership. Consistently up-to-date shots, spay/neuter, preventative health, and city license show your investment and commitment to your dog. Pet Resume Resources:
      How to Write a Killer Pet Resume (Because Now Landlords Want to See Pet Resumes)
  • Show That Your Dog is Family – Offer a family “Meet & Greet”. Nothing will tell a landlord more about your dog than meeting him. Give them a chance to meet a happy, healthy, FAMILY dog! Show them that your dog is a smart, polite, and quiet family dog.
  • Contact Private Landlords vs Apartment Complexes. Many apartment complexes have size and breed restrictions that are set by upper management. Leasing and property managers most likely have no control over this and generally make no exceptions. Your best option is to look at single-family homes, duplex, and privately owned apartment buildings. 
  • Search our Nationwide Database to find an apartment that does not have breed or weight restrictions. We currently have the most comprehensive open online database of non-discriminatory housing and continue to add information as we receive it. Search our database to see if we have any leads that may help you!Additional Search Tips
    Use Online Resources to expand your options and increase your chance for success.

      • Use keywords such as “pet-friendly rentals” and “breed friendly rentals”
      • Search for available housing and/or post a “Housing wanted” ad on Craigslist; you will often find private landlords who will be willing to work with you.
      • Search nearby rescue pages; some rescues may have leads for pet-friendly rentals in the area, or resources to help you find it.
      • Post to your Facebook page and ask your friends to share. You may also post on the pages of advocacy groups and rescues in your area to see if other members may have leads or tips.
    • Review Realtors/Apartment Locators may be very helpful in your search. They already know how to find pet-friendly housing, and have most likely found housing for large breed dogs.

Assistance Animals & Tenant Representation
Looking for help navigating pet-related landlord and neighbor issues and provide guidance through the animal accommodation process?

Pet policies often create more questions than they answer in leases or homeowners association agreements. Even when policies are clearly spelled out, they may not be uniformly applied or enforced. For example, you may move into an apartment or buy a home where dogs are welcome and later be told that they are not allowed. If you don’t know your legal rights, your options are limited to moving out…or getting rid of your pet.

Opening Doors will assist you in finding a workable solution with your landlord or homeowners association. Opening Doors attorneys are familiar with local laws and ordinances regarding pets in rental properties, homeowners association agreements, state eviction laws, and animal accommodation laws for people with service and assistance animals.

Visit Opening Doors

Military Families
You have a lot on your mind, the last thing you need to worry about is the safety of your pet. Check out these resources:

Dogs on Deployment
Military Pets Foster Projects

Temporary Housing/ Short Term Foster 
Time is almost up? Start looking into alternative options for your family. Search your area for temporary housing (some will allow pets), if you cannot find a place with your pet, ask a friend or family member to keep your dog until you are able to find a place (offer back-up plans in case you do not find a place in time). There are also options for short-term foster; contact a rescue or shelter near you to see if that is an option for your family. Visit our Community Partner’s page to find an organization in your area.