Searching for the ideal apartment can be challenging at the best of times, but having a pet adds a new dimension to the struggle. Many landlords in the D.C. area won’t consider renting to pet owners because it creates additional damage risks and could also disrupt neighbors.
Even landlords who allow pets are under no obligation to rent to you if they feel your furry friend could be a nuisance. Identifying a dog-friendly place (or other pet-perfect home) for rent is only part of the battle because you must convince the property owner or manager that your companion won’t create problems throughout your tenancy.
You can, however, take some steps to convince your landlord that letting you move in with a dog or cat is a good idea. This guide will take you through the process of finding the best pet-friendly apartments D.C. has to offer, while offering tips on convincing the property manager that your pet won’t be any trouble.
Possible Restrictions at Pet-Friendly Apartments in Washington, D.C.
Even pet-friendly apartments could have restrictions you’ll need to consider before completing your application. The best way to ensure there aren’t any misunderstandings is to speak with the landlord or property manager early in the process to learn the rules. Examples of restrictions include:
Number of Pets
Many apartments limit the number of pets you can have in a single unit. This rule might not even be up to the property owner or manager, as the building could have bylaws every resident must follow while living there. Learning about these restrictions is advisable if you have more than one pet.
Dog Weight and Size
There could be restrictions on the size of the pet your landlord will allow in the unit. These rules typically apply to dogs and could limit your ability to find an apartment if you have a large breed. Searching for the best large dog-friendly apartments D.C. has available adds another challenge as you seek the ideal spot for you and your pet.
Some dog breeds have a bad reputation (whether or not that’s earned), and your landlord might not be comfortable with them living in the unit. These restrictions could vary from complex to complex or be based on the property owner’s preferences, but breeds like pit bulls, Dobermans, German shepherds, and rottweilers are frequently on these lists. Mentioning the breed is vital when filling out your application to ensure you and the owner are on the same page.
Pet restrictions are sometimes negotiable with the landlord, but it’s best to learn any rules before getting too excited about renting a particular property. Discussing your pet could be enough to convince a property owner who’s on the fence.
Six Tips to Help You Find Pet-Friendly Property in D.C.
Identifying pet-friendly apartments in Washington is relatively straightforward, but convincing a property manager or landlord to rent to you is an entirely different situation. You’ll have to explain your circumstances and let the owner know your pet won’t be a problem while living there. Some tips to follow in this scenario include:
1. Use Online Tools
The first step is to locate properties that will consider renting to pet owners. Online tools allow you to narrow your search based on the property’s pet restrictions so you don’t waste time applying for apartments that won’t even consider you.
2. Create a Pet Resume
Finding a dog-friendly place for rent is only part of the battle because the landlord still has to accept you as a tenant. Constructing a pet resume could help because it shows the property owner that you’re responsible and your pet won’t be an issue. This resume could include pictures, health records, a thorough description of the pet, and any training certificates the pet has earned.
3. Get Reference Letters
Showing reference letters from previous pet-friendly private landlords in D.C. could help the process. These letters should outline your time living at the property with your pet and explain that your dog or cat didn’t damage your previous home while living there.
4. Offer an Additional Damage Deposit or Rent Payment
Some landlords or property managers might not be easily convinced, but you can provide an additional pet damage deposit or a monthly rent for your pet to get negotiations over the hump. The amount you’ll offer depends on what you’re comfortable paying. You should know that some property managers proactively add a pet surcharge to your deposit or rent.
5. Ensure the Rental Is Right for Your Pet
It’s easy to forget your pet’s needs while seeking a rental unit in D.C. A building that’s too noisy or too cramped, or one that’s a lengthy distance from the nearest dog park might not be the best option for your companion, even if it seems perfect for you. Consider what your pet needs while searching for an apartment to ensure you’ll both be happy there.
6. See if You Qualify for an Assistance Animal
D.C. has laws surrounding assistance animals, which are different from pets. An assistance animal provides help for individuals with mental or physical impairments, and no special training is necessary for the animal. It’s possible to receive an exemption for living in a no-pets property if it’s determined your assistance animal is essential for you to complete your daily activities.
Following these tips could put you on the right track as you seek a pet-friendly rental in D.C. It’s best to be upfront about your pet situation and work with the property manager to ensure you find a comfortable place to live.
Get Help Finding the Perfect Pet-Friendly Rental in D.C.
Renting an apartment or condo in D.C. comes with challenges, but searching online makes it easier. You can look at available listings and submit rental applications using this method, helping you narrow your search in minutes.
Nomadic Real Estate makes all our vacant rental properties in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia available on our website. You can search for rentals by neighborhood, price, and size, and each listing states whether the apartment or condo allows pets. Contact Nomadic Real Estate for more information on finding a pet-friendly rental property in DC.