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How to convince landlord to accept dog?

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  • How to convince landlord to accept dog?

    This is long, but hopefully you can bear with me! So, after three years in our great apartment, my SO and I have begun the hunt for a new place.

    We found a great place the other day and set up an appointment to go take a look. Our initial appointment was rescheduled, so we took a walk over just to take a look at the building and the block on our own. The listing for the apartment made no mention of "no pets," and while were visiting the building, I heard a dog bark several times and saw a cat in an upstairs window.

    Last night, we finally saw the apartment for ourselves. We love it. We gave the broker a check on the spot to take it off the market and began filling out the application. We were going to sign papers at 10 a.m. this morning.

    Then I got to the line on the application about pets... It hadn't even crossed my mind to ask the broker given that I had seen a cat and heard a dog in the building the night before. The broker calls his office and finds out that the building only accepts cats (which I find way more destructive, but I digress). Soooo, he gives us back the deposit and says he'll talk to the management company.

    We have an excellent dog. He is 12 pounds, 6 years old, not barky, 100 percent house trained, and I work from home most of the time so he's very rarely left alone. He has never, ever been an issue anywhere I've lived and everyone loves him. I can easily obtain letters from current/past landlords and neighbors attesting to his demeanor.

    We told the broker that are very amenable to an additional deposit. Also, last night I followed up with another e-mail emphasizing how much we like the apartment and also explaining that our current management company (which is pet-friendly) has a "no pets" clause in their lease, to protect them from an ill-behaved animal.

    Here's what they say about that:

    "Reasonably behaved dogs and cats are allowed. Exotic pets are prohibited. We may ask that you remove pets that bark constantly or are menacing to others. [Redacted management company] leases include a "no pet" clause. The law regarding pets is as follows: "Tenants may keep pets in their apartments if their lease permits pets or is silent on the subject. Landlords may be able to evict tenants who violate a lease provision prohibiting pets. In multiple dwellings in New York City, a "no pet" lease clause is deemed waived where a tenant "openly and notoriously" kept a pet for at least three months and the owner of the building or his agent had knowledge of this fact. However, this protection does not apply where the animal causes damage, is a nuisance or substantially interferes with other tenants. (NYC Admin. Code §§27-2009.1).
    We think this is more than fair and told the broker that we'd be happy to include this in our lease, thus giving them an out should the dog be a nuisance.

    I followed up with the broker again this afternoon, but haven't heard anything since it's Saturday and the management company is likely closed.

    Any other tactics or success stories? We absolutely love this apartment (it is truly one of a kind for us), but obviously we love our dog more. We just want both!

  • #2
    Can your current landlord give you a good reference? How about your vet or a dog trainer? Does your dog have a Canine Good Citizen certificate? That would be a great thing to mention. Also, make sure your landlord knows your dog is up to date on vaccinations.

    We have two dogs who average 50 pounds each, and whenever I contact a rental agency or owner about renting a cabin, I make sure to mention that both dogs are crate-trained, we will be bringing their crates and confining them to their crates if we leave, they're current on vaccinations and heartworm and flea/tick prevention, have been through basic manners training classes, are not nuisance barkers, etc. I also say they are free to ask me any questions about the dogs if my info hasn't covered something they're concerned about.

    I think the fact that your dog is small is in your favor. Whenever my husband and I try to rent vacation cabins, they are almost always restricted to dogs under 25 pounds, and usually one dog. Finding somewhere that is even open to the possibility of two larger dogs is tricky.

    Good luck.
    Full-time bargain hunter.


    • #3
      I'm a landlord with a general 'avoid dogs' policy for my individual unit. The main reason: There is a LOT of turmoil in the complex as a whole about dog owners and as a landlord, I don't want to be dragged into the fray - we have people who let them off the leash in the courtyard (against condo policy, and some residents and board members are infuriated by this), we have residents upset that people 'let their dogs pee' on the grass in the courtyard (I know, it's outside on the grass....but they complain b/c their kids play on the grass in the courtyard, etc etc) and of course there is the barking, which is a real issue since the building is not excessively well sound-proofed. I think onelanerode has some good ideas. If you came to look at my unit with your dog, I'd be much more amendable to it with a VERY LARGE pet deposit - one that could cover multiple fines if you turned out to be irresponsible with the dog - and a reference from your current landlord would help too. The very large pet deposit would be key with me. If you really want this place, offer big $$ on that and just ask that the bulk of it (or all of it) be returned when you move if there have been no issues, along with your regular security deposit - that's my advice.
      "To understand the soul of a horse is the closest human beings can come to knowing perfection."


      • #4
        I can see where a landlord wouldn't want to get into the whole dog thing...a can of worms. AND if an exception is made for one, then...it's TWO cans of worms.

        "Well, you let them. Why not me?" Maybe even litigation for discrimination if they say yes to you and no to someone else.

        I'd keep looking, just in case.
        Ride like you mean it.


        • #5
          Some really good suggestions have been given so far. If it's an individual managing their property you might have a better chance than a bigger company. My parents have had several rental houses and have had varying rules on pets. For the properties that are more strict, my mom would consider dogs if the owner could vouch for their training, housebroken status, preferably crated when alone unless absolutely dependable around (in this case, original) woodworking and flooring, quiet non barkers. The barking was key because the neighborhood gets a lot of foot traffic and the surrounding neighbors tend to be crotchety, whiny and miserable lol! For the most recent tenants, what helped was having lived in a similarly busy street without the dogs barking at everything. I know my country-living dogs wouldn't pass that test, being used to their own acreage and very few guests!
          References, current vaccines and ongoing training, and a large pet deposit have all gone far with my parents, for what it's worth.
          Another option might be to suggest the large deposit, with a smaller amount of it nonrefundable.
          (oh and yeah my parents have never allowed cats in their rentals. Mostly because my mom is highly allergic, but also because as a realtor she's seen WAY too many properties with irreparable damage to the floors and base boards sure to cat pee. Kinda scared her off that idea!)


          • #6
            For reference, I have my dog in a 1BR rented through a company apartment. Company policy is $200 pet FEE. Meaning non refundable. Any damages caused by the pet have to be paid for on top of that fee. Figure out average pet fee in your area (around here $200 is actually cheap, but my complex isn't in the best area), and offer double with a portion to be refunded to you at the end of your lease.

            I feel for you. Before even getting my dog I researched how easy itd be to find apartments to rent in the areas I was interested in living. It is always possible in my current & potential future cities but sacrifices usually have to be made. You are lucky your dog is so small!
            "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
            "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


            • Original Poster

              Thanks, all!

              In an odd turn of events, another broker is now telling us that the building is, in fact, pet-friendly (both cats and dogs), so we're not sure who to believe—although we're hoping that Broker #2 is correct! (The apartment is actually under our budget and Broker #1 knew that... Wondering if he wanted to get us into a pricier place so he could make a bigger broker's fee.)

              I have no problem paying a non-refundable pet deposit if it means we can have this apartment. Reference letters from the vet, past landlords, neighbors, etc., are no big deal either. Fingers still very crossed.


              • #8
                That sounds promising! Crossing fingers for you.
                Ride like you mean it.


                • #9
                  Offer a big pet deposit - ie: one months rent.. It shows a commitment on your part. The truth is, if your pet were destructive or you were irresponsible, this would not cover the potential damage. But, it shows the landlord how serious you are that your pet will not cause problems and you are committed to being responsible pet owner.. That along with references and a picture of your dog to show how big it is.


                  • #10
                    I have 11 rental homes and allow all breeds and sizes as long as they are over 8 months of age, spayed/neutered/vaccinated and have no bite history. I don't allow outside only pets. All of my rentals have doggie doors, fenced (rock walled) backyards, and hand held shower sprayers in one bath. I charge a 200. nonrefundable pet fee for 1st pet and 100.00 for each addl pet. I am VERY strict about references.
                    I've been doing rentals since 2000 and never had a place damaged, except for before I started the "no outdoor pets". I had one renter w/3 outdoor dogs, and the neighbors always complained about barking, and then she let them in when the weather was bad and they weren't housebroken and ruined the carpet and chewed up my kitchen cabinets.

                    If you have good references from your current landlord and maybe get a reference from neighbors stating that you live next door and your dog hasn't ever been a problem, you should be ok.