Pet restrictions in housing can be very frustrating, especially if you are unable to live comfortably without your pet. Some landlords fully have a no-pet policy in place for all of their units. Others, however, simply will not allow you to bring home pets of a certain species or breed. If you want to bring a pet home with you, you may need to get creative.
Rental pet restrictions should not be broken. We don’t recommend hiding your pet from your landlord, since you may get evicted or even sued if you ever get found out. However, there are some things you can do to convince your landlord to let your furry friend live with you.
1. Offer to Pay Pet Fees
Most landlords will charge their tenants extra for living in their complex with pets. This is because landlords have to pay for the cleaning, repairs, and utilities that come with having pets. Some landlords will even charge a pet deposit in addition to your rent.
If you want to live with your pet, offer to pay a deposit or pet fee to the landlord. Be sure to get written proof that you will be paying these fees, or your landlord may not believe you.
2. Prepare a Pet Resume
You can also make a special pet resume that you can show to your landlord. The resume can state your pet’s age, size, and any health problems that the pet may have. This is a great way to prove that your pet will not be a nuisance to other tenants.
This has the same logic as you preparing a CV when applying for a job, or getting references from past landlords when applying for a unit. If your pet has any certifications or verified training, make sure to include this in the resume. This will show that your pet can be trusted to stay well-behaved.
3. Register Your Pet as an ESA
Emotional support animals (ESAs) are the most common type of pet that landlords accept. They are not regular pets. Instead, they’re specifically assistance animals that are meant to help their owners get through daily life. They can give you emotional comfort, or aid your disabilities in some way. These types of pets are specifically allowed by law in many areas.
To register your pet as an ESA, you need to get an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). You’ll only get a letter if the professional has assessed your condition and decided that your pet can help you. The letter should be signed by the professional and must state that your pet is appropriate for your situation.
Under the Fair Housing laws, landlords are obligated to give reasonable effort to accommodate the needs of their tenants. So, they cannot refuse to rent to you just because you have an ESA. They can’t charge you extra fees, but they can require that you get rid of your ESA if they’re causing too much of a disturbance. Still, this is a great option for those who must have their pets living with them.