Before planning your apartment move, you might also look through our other insightful articles so you will be better prepared to plan your move. See these articles on how to find an apartment to rent.
Finding a Pet Friendly Apartment
Starting Your Search For Apartments That Welcome Pets
One of the most important aspects of moving can often be over looked if you are in a rush and do not have a chance to plan and search accordingly. If you are not careful, you could even find a place where some of your family members are not even welcomed (those family members being the small, furry ones!) Many pets have had to be given up in a situation where their new home is not pet friendly. A few basic guidelines can help spare the sorrow and heartache of having to give up a dog, cat or other pet, or the expense of breaking a lease you just signed.
Find a Neighborhood Where You and Your Pet Want to Live
Whether moving for work, to be closer to family, or to get away from that that one strange neighbor who lived next door, deciding what area you to want be in is often an easy process, but can be very strenuous process on your furry friend. Where can you find a place where both your needs and your pet's needs be met?
Living in an urban environment may have a certain appeal to you, but will Spot enjoy the atmosphere as much as you? With a bigger dog or an outdoor cat, an urban setting may be less than ideal. The constant traffic and noise could be stressful for them, plus there are numerous animals (rats!) that carry diseases that have the potential to seriously affect Fluffy. For dogs especially, the lack of grass, trees, and other pet friendly places can be detrimental. You spent countless hours training Fido to use grass as his personal port-o-potty, but what will he do in the concrete jungle? Could all those carpets spots have been for nothing (GASP!)?
A suburban setting is often an ideal compromise between your wants and needs and your animal's. You can be close enough to a bigger city that your commute is manageable. The benefits, however, go much further for your pets. A suburban setting will invariably have grass, possibly your own slice of a yard and maybe even a park, so both you and your dog can enjoy that house training. The openness and fresh air will also be beneficial to everyone's health. This situation is also beneficial to you feline friend, as the number of rodents that carry diseases can be smaller.
Finding Pet Friendly Apartments
The hardest part of finding an apartment for you and your pet is locating buildings and landlords that accept pets. It can also be frustrating because you spend time finding the perfect apartment only to discover that pets are not welcome.
The best way to find a pet friendly apartment is to use online apartment search sites that allow you to search for pet friendly apartments, such as www.mynewplace.com. When you enter an online search, search first for apartment buildings that openly allow pets, and research those apartments first.
You can also screen for pet-friendly apartments by calling or emailing the building manager and asking up front whether they accept pets. Be sure to be open and honest about what pets you are planning to have - sneaking in pets later could result in expensive cleaning or other costs, and perhaps having to give up your pets.
Be sure to ask if there are limitations on size, number, type and breed of pets. Some apartments will not allow large dogs, or certain breeds such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and even Huskies. Some apartments will allow "table top" pets such as hamsters, guinea pigs and pet mice, or aquarium pets including fish, birds, frogs and turtles, even if other pets are not allowed. Some apartments restrict exotic pets like snakes, lizards, spiders, ferrets and large (carnivorous!) cats, especially those that may be poisonous or dangerous to humans. To be sure, tell the landlord exactly what pets you have, and if possible list them on the lease when you sign so that it is clear those animals are allowed.
Visit Prospective Apartments
Once you have a list of places that can meet the needs of both owner and animal, it is time for a visit. Often times your furry friend will have to stay at home on the preliminary visit (If this is not possible, be sure to call the Landlord in advance to see if your pet can inspect the apartment too.)
What to do on the visit
One of the first things to do when visiting a prospective apartment is to ask what the policies are for having pets. Even if you asked over the phone, ask again to be sure. Most often, the Landlord will repeat what is printed on the website, but the rules could have been changed. Also, while in the apartment, check for anything that could harm your pet. Items like this include:
- exposed wires
- hot water pipes
- any vent covers that could easily be removed
- window screens that are not securely locked in place
- dangerous objects or debris in the area around the apartment
Once finished inspecting the apartment, it is also a good idea to talk to any neighbors to get their perspective on the building's Landlord, policies, and other neighbors and their pets. This can be an extremely valuable step. If you discover that it is readily apparent that neighbors have (you smell the lovely aroma ok used kitty litter wafting through the air or constantly hear barking while there) then maybe you should think twice and explore other areas and options.
Another good idea is to try to gauge the types of animals that are living in the building. If you have a kitten, it might not be a great decision to move into a building filled with large dogs, because if they were to ever get out, you would fear the worst. Also, even though you may be the perfect pet owner with the perfect pet, others may not be so, so listen for that noisy dog that may keep you awake!
When leaving, it is also a good idea to try to gauge the outside cleanliness of both the apartment and the surrounding area. Is this a place you would feel comfortable taking your pup for a walk at 3 a.m. when he can't sleep?
After viewing multiple places, it is time to make a decision. A good idea is to sit down and make a list of both likes and dislikes of each apartment visited, and which apartment would be best for your pet. This way, it will be much easier to organize your thoughts. Also consider which landlord or building manager was most open to you having pets - it is much easier to resolve issues with damage or noise if the landlord is understanding. It is also good to ask your pets about their opinions, which apartment they liked, and what they thought of the cute Burmese or poodle down the hall.
Next Step: Move in Day
When you move into your new apartment with your pet, you should be sure to introduce your pet gently and appropriately. How you approach this will depend on your pet's personality. Many dogs are so delighted to just be with you they will have no issues at all. Cats require a gentler touch because they become very attached to their home.
You should first move in your belongings, leaving your pet in a friendly location such as with a family member or friend. Having familiar objects and smells in the apartment will help them settle in and feel more at home. If you are moving long distance, you may need to find a pet-friendly hotel room for the transition.
To avoid injury (and a bad temperament) make sure to set expectations properly and leave ample time for breaks. Often we’re in such a rush to move our apartments moved that we don’t stop and rest. When we are tired we make more mistakes, when we make mistakes we take longer to finish moving.
Also, be sure to establish house training rituals right away. For cats, show them where their litter box is, and remind them several times a day to be sure they get it. For dogs, take trips outside to where they can 'go' and then rewarding them when they do the right thing. You may need to go back to puppy house training techniques for a bit before they get it down. Above all, be understanding if they have a few accidents, and reward good behavior with praise and treats. If you need help, see sites like the Humane Society, which has good information on house training and other pet issues.
More Information On Apartment Hunting
Now that you have an idea of how to keep both your needs and your pet's needs in balance, you might want to refer to our other great apartment renting resources.
Or start your apartment search