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Looking for an apartment can be challenging in general, but throwing in the added necessity of pet-friendliness makes it a whole different ball game. You must assess all your needs in a home, consider how much apartment you can afford and then start looking at available properties. While your pet should probably skip out on the apartment visits, be sure to be upfront about your needs with real estate brokers or landlords. Consider the following tips for finding a home that allows your pets to live with you.

Narrow Your Search

Check online, in local newspapers, real estate publications and anywhere else you may think of to search for apartment rentals. Don’t forget to ask friends and relatives for recommendations and to spread the word that you’re looking. The more options you gather, the better.

If you are struggling to find any apartments that specify being pet-friendly, try asking other pet owners in the area and search pet associations like the local humane society or animal control agency for resources. Remember that there is likely no point in arguing against a no-pets policy but if there are certain breeds or sizes banned, ask if this is the result of a negative experience with a previous resident. A landlord may have concerns that do not apply to your situation.

Present a Strong Case

Consider yourself and your pet as ambassadors — be honest while putting your animal in the best light. Gather proof that you are responsible and that your pet is healthy and well behaved. Be prepared to submit paperwork regarding vaccinations, licenses, house and obedience training as well as pictures of your pet interacting with people. You may even need to have references from a veterinarian, groomer, current neighbor or landlord that make it clear that your pet is as good of a tenant as you are.

Landlords will do other things to look into your background like checking your credit (you can see where your credit scores stand for free on Credit.com), calling your previous landlords or even requiring a co-signer. All of these can help bolster your application and give landlords extra evidence of your credibility when you apply.

Make It Official

Last, you must be ready to pay a little extra. There are plenty of ways to save as a pet owner, but housing may not be one of them. Whether it is a higher security deposit or monthly surcharge, apartments often require compensation for a pet. It may seem unfair that you need to pay extra and face restrictions, but there could be insurance issues as well as concerns over damage.

Once you have successfully found a pet-friendly apartment and negotiated the details, be sure to get the landlord, committee or manager’s permission to have a pet in writing. Verbal approval is not enough and you can even consider signing a pet addendum to your rental agreement that protects people, property and the pets themselves. It’s a good idea to have the fees and house rules pertaining to pets in writing as well.

While you may face more challenges on the apartment hunt when you own a pet, it is possible to find great options for you and your dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, hamster, iguana or other creature. You may need to give yourself extra time for the search and should be prepared to take some extra steps, but those annoyances will likely be forgotten when you and your pet are happily moved in and enjoying your new digs.

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