Surrounded by competition, finding a rental in the city a challenge. Finding a pet friendly unit hoists it up to an even tougher level. Despite our original misgivings, Shaun and I have secured five whole viewings tomorrow! Here are some tips to finding a pet friendly rental.
Before the viewing:
1. Make a wishlist. If you live in a city like mine, places in your ideal neighbourhood will have number of potential tenants lined up around the corner to see it. Sometimes, if the landlord is a “show me the money” kind of person, you’ll need to make an on-the-spot decision to take a place or risk giving it up to the next renter. To help make the right choice, prep beforehand. Write up a wishlist of the most important elements you would like in a place. I find it even better to list them in terms of importance as well, so you know what you can and can’t live without. You can see ours here. That way, you can size it up against your wishlist, and have a better idea if it fits what you truly need, and you won’t sucked in to the if-we-don’t-do-this-now-we’ll-lose-it in the moment mentality.
2. Look through all listings. Craigslist gives you the option of searching for pet friendly units:
Contrary to common sense, if you’re having trouble finding a pet-friendly apartment, don’t click this section. You’ll have a list of all places, most of which will say “no pets”. However, a few places won’t specify whether or not they accept your extra family member. If you’re willing to take the time, it’s worth looking through all those listings. If you see one that doesn’t mention anything about a cat or a dog, call the landlord to see if they’re open to the idea. We’ve found a large portion of them will be, but don’t really want everyone and their dog (I am such a geek with that pun, don’t mind me) to show up at their door, so they don’t list it. They may be willing to meet with you, and you can use the opportunity to show them how well your pet will treat their place.
3. Show the landlord that you are a responsible pet owner. Many landlords don’t allow pets because they’re worried their place will be destroyed. If they’re weary, let them know what lengths you’ll go to to protect their rental. For example, to protect a hardwood floor, large area rugs are a great option, and also act as a barrier to muffle the sound in the apartment below. Offer to bring your cat, and especially your dog, to the showing. This will give the landlord a chance to see how well behaved and quiet (and perfect) your pet is.
4. Look past the ad for potential. I’m a visual person. Before Shaun and I moved in together, I judged a rental harshly by the quality of its photos. I would unequivocally cut out any posts without images, and any photos that didn’t appeal to me. Shaun has expanded my horizons on this one, which is even more important now that we have Bali.
For example, when we looked for our last place, we were in Indonesia. To say our search from overseas was a challenge is an understatement. We saw this place (which we eventually ended up taking) over and over, but no one seemed to want it. Ironically, today, I came across his same ad for another unit in the building. He used this photo of the living room:
Yes, you can see the hardwood, but you can’t see any of the character, the quality of the wood, and how bright the place is. Contrast that to the photo we used when we went to sublet it (because we wanted to get our puppy of course):
We literally had to take it down within two hours because we got so much response. It’s not even a staged photo! Often you need to look for the potential in an ad and see the place in person. This can work in your favour because a lot of people are like me out there. They ignore ugly photos. Use this to your advantage, and it will mean less competition for you! In our case, we even had enough leverage to score a cheaper price.
5. Respond quickly. Again, I have to say it, Craigslist is competitive. Shaun is a regular Craigslister and noticed just HOW MANY responses you’ll get for a decent listing. You’ll have the most luck of getting an answer if you are one of the first people to respond to the ad, so check often and respond as soon as you can. Plus, if there are too many responses, the landlord will take it down, but you’ll have made it into the running.
Hope this helps your search! If you have any other tips that have helped you along, I’d love to hear them!