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Owning a pet when you rent

Just because you don’t own your home doesn’t mean you can’t have your own loving pet.  Whether you’re a dog or a cat person, there are still ways you can have a four-legged friend as long as you play by a few extra rental living rules.

First be sure to check your lease agreement for any specific pet restrictions.  Typically with apartments you’ll likely find weight or breed restrictions on dogs or a limit on animals in general within your unit.  If your lease doesn’t mention animals at all, as a good renter you should still check with your landlord about their comfort with you having an animal at the home.  The Arizona Humane Society will check county records and call your landlord to be sure they will allow you to adopt a pet, so don’t even consider making any sneaky maneuvers.

Once you know that you’ll be able to own a pet in your home you may find you’ll need to put down an additional deposit or even pay a small pet rent fee every month as well.  Even if you don’t at your current home please remember that there may be restrictions with future homes so be sure you’ll be able to commit to those extra fees and limitations. When it comes to owning a dog be sure the breed you chose is appropriate to apartment or small area living.  Owning a pet means adopting a family member for life, not as long as it’s convenient.

The Arizona Humane Society is a fantastic place to begin your search for a new family member.  Their facilities house everything from dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, reptilian creatures and whatever other type of animal may find themselves homeless.  This is a no-kill shelter; they have multiple valley locations and request very modest fees for the adoption of their animals. Another no-kill shelter in the valley is Halo Rescue and they have many loveable dogs and cats looking for a new home.  If you do choose to buy a dog on Craigslist or other-like resources please be careful that you’re not buying from an abusive animal mill. Unfortunately, they are very prevalent in Phoenix. Stipulate that the seller allow you to view the breeding property and to meet your new pets’ parents.

From an animal lover who has raised three puppies and two kittens in rental units, here are a few tips to save your sanity and your security deposit:

  • Puppies: Stock up on Puppy Pads to help potty train your puppy while saving your carpet. There will, and I repeat there will be accidents.  Be sure to have pet specific carpet cleaner on hand to clean up the mess right away. A huge furniture and wall saver is to be sure to have plenty of different types of fun toys and bones strewn throughout the house so they don’t start chewing through your couch, carpet or walls.
  • Kittens:  It may take a few days for a kitten to learn about their new litter box so also be sure to have carpet and floor cleaner so they don’t learn to make accidents a habit.  Just like with puppies have plenty of toys around to keep them interested in the right things.  You absolutely must have a decent scratching post equipped with catnip, otherwise you can kiss your couch or anything leather goodbye.

Having a pet while living in a rental isn’t impossible it simply means you’ll have a few extra hurdles to face.  Cuddling up with your furry little friend will make it all worth it at the end of the day.

Amalia Otet
Amalia Otet
Amalia Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time.

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