When moving to a new apartment, you want to move with your pet. However, you may have to pay pet rent, and if you have to, you just might be able to get out of paying pet rent. So, in this article, we will look at the possible methods you can explore to help you save money.
A pet can cause severe structural damage to rental units, costing a landlord lots of repair money. As such, landlords charge pet rent to minimize potential expenses. This amount of money is paid monthly, typically $10 to $100, depending on the location. The money may not seem much, but it can quickly add up to an additional $100 to $1,000 on a 12-month lease. Some landlords set the price at 1% or 2% of the rental. For instance, if you pay rent of $1,000 monthly, $10 (1%) could be the pet rent.
Unlike a pet deposit, pet rent is not refundable, just like paying for your pet’s occupancy. Fortunately, there are ways you can get out of pet rent to invest the money in other needs.
Landlords Charge Pet Rent for a Reason
Pets are wonderful companions, but they can cause lots of damage to a rental property. Your landlord has likely weighed several options before deciding to charge pet rent, which typically points to damage to the rental units.
Pet rent is a result of additional damage and wear by pets and market forces. Landlords also charge pet rent, as only a few landlords allow pets, making the property in shorter supply and more valuable.
Do not underestimate the damage your pet can cause. A pet dog can destroy flooring, doors, kitchens, woodwork, and almost anything else. A pet cat will destroy carpets, blinds, soft furnishings, and similar.
You know your pet is really well-behaved and would not wreck the apartment, but a landlord does not think so due to experience. Most landlords have had at least one tenant who claimed their pet was well-behaved, only to find the apartment in a mess during an inspection.
Animals tend to leave fur, smells, and hair, resulting in additional cleaning costs or the complete replacement of items such as carpets, which gets very expensive.
As such, to have your pet rent waived, you need to be able to convince the landlord about it or leverage some of the legal methods mentioned in this publication to get out of it.
How to Get Out of Paying Pet Rent
Getting a landlord to waive pet rent is not a walk in the park, but it is possible to get done. Do the following to get out of paying pet rent in your new apartment:
1. Get your previous landlord to review your pet’s behavior
Your previous landlord could be of help if you or your pet have a great relationship or history with them. Landlords are not only concerned about damage to the unit but also about the nuisance untrained pets and negligent owners bring to the apartment.
If you are certain of not getting a bad reference letter from your previous landlord, get them to write concisely about your pet’s behavior. You need to show your prospective landlord that your pet is trained against those concerns to get out of the pet rent.
Your previous landlord should describe your pet as well-trained, disciplined, and clean. They should also briefly highlight how the pet does not cause problems or would contribute to the rental property.
2. Gather recent pet records
Your pet records may help to get the landlord to waive the pet rent. Prepare the vet records to prove that your pet has had the city or state’s required vaccinations and is in good health. Your landlord may worry about flea infestations, so it can help if your pet takes a flea preventative.
If you have a pet dog, you need a certificate from obedience training. If your pet dog has not undergone an obedience course, consider enrolling it in one. Present the training evidence to your landlord to show that your pet is well-behaved and unlikely to cause any problems.
3. Use your renter’s insurance
If your renter’s insurance policy covers pet-related damages, this can get the landlord to waive your pet rent. A renter’s insurance also shows that you take financial responsibility for your pet, and treat the rental property like you would treat your own. Your landlord would feel more comfortable, especially if you can show that your pet is well-behaved.
4. Present your pet as well-mannered
Consider drafting a résumé for your pet, including pictures of your well-mannered and well-behaved pet.
Pattern the résumé as you would for an individual. Under experience, list the places you have lived with your pet, and for how long. Under education, include any obedience courses or other training your pet has undergone or is undergoing.
5. Make it a case to the landlord
Begin negotiations by discussing pet rent issues with the landlord. If the landlord says it is not negotiable, ask why. Note that a community manager at large apartment complexes may not have the authority to negotiate the terms of a lease.
Suppose the landlord welcomes talks about pet rent, begin by clearly stating your position. Present the evidence you gathered to demonstrate why you do not have to pay pet rent.
Your evidence should cover the concerns of the landlord to show they face no financial risk if they decide not to charge you pet rent. Present your pet’s résumé, showing that your pet is mild-tempered and has been a model tenant for previous landlords.
If it is a pet dog, present proof that it is neutered, has a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certificate, is taking a flea preventative, and is up to date on all vaccinations. Keep a calm tone, and do not get defensive or emotional. If the landlord is convinced by your evidence, consider other alternatives.
6. Offer to pay a refundable deposit
Offer to pay a refundable pet deposit instead of pet rent. Do not bring up the refundable deposit suggestion until it is clear that the landlord will not waive the pet rent.
A pet deposit is a refundable payment you make to the landlord to cover any damages to the property caused by your pet. It is similar to a security deposit and is required before signing the lease. You will be refunded this money once the lease ends, just like a security deposit.
You should carry a drafted pet agreement when meeting the landlord, this can get them to immediately agree to waive the pet rent.
7. Register your pet as an ESA
Consider registering your pet as an emotional support animal (ESA), which is covered under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). With ESA, you can keep your pet in an apartment with a no-pet policy without additional pet charges like pet rent.
This only applies if your pet provides emotional support to you and keeps you balanced and calm. If your pet qualifies as an ESA, obtain a letter from your healthcare provider and present it to the landlord specifying that your pet qualifies as an ESA.
8. Hide your pet
You can hide your pet from the landlord to avoid paying pet rent. However, apart from being stressful, this method violates the lease. It is not also a solution for the long term.
Nonetheless, follow the applicable guide below to hide your pet from a landlord:
Hiding a pet without a pet agreement is grounds for eviction or you could lose the pet to the shelter. If eviction goes on your record, you will have a hard time finding a new apartment since it violates the lease. Most of the time, this results in the landlord giving you a bad reference, which could be bypassed though.
Be Responsible for Your Pet and Find a New Home
Pets are lovable but you need to be responsible for them by doing the right thing – finding your pet a welcoming home.
A landlord charges the pet rent to protect their interests and those of prospective or existing tenants. Property preservation is paramount, so honor the pet rent requirement or find a new home. If the landlord insists you must pay the pet rent, find a new place that is willing to negotiate or does not charge pet rent.
Some landlords use generic leases for tenants, so there will be a clause in the lease regarding the pet policy. If you lie about not having pets, you could be evicted for violating the lease – your lease is a binding contract.
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