How to Rent to People with Pets

It is understandable why owners are concerned about a renter's pets when leasing their most valuable asset. The problem is that over 50% of the families and thus 50% of the potential pool of renters in the US have pets. By excluding them, it is going to take longer to rent a home and owners may end up turning down someone who is going to cause fewer problems.


The other unfortunate result is pet adoption agencies are being flooded at the same time as their funding is being reduced. Many are closing and others cannot afford to take in more animals, so tens of thousands of pets are being lost each year. There are ways to ascertain whether a renter's pet will cause any problems:


  1. Ask if the pets have successfully relocated before.

  2. Discuss how the renters manage their pets. The saying is that there are no bad pets, just bad pet owners. Some pet owners keep their dogs kenneled at night and during the day. Some pet owners are around all the time so the animals are always being monitored. We have a form that renters sign that details responsible pet care.

  3. Talk to their previous landlord about whether there were any problems.

  4. If the tenants sold their last house, ask for their Seller's Disclosure where they must disclose any issues their home had. Ask to talk to their Realltor to see if there were any problems their pets caused.

  5. Ask for an additional pet deposit ranging from $300-$500. If an owner is extremely concerned, double that amount and release half of it in a year if there have not been any problems. The pet and security deposit is usually enough to cover any kind of damage a tenant might cause but that still does not release them from being responsible for damages above and beyond that amount.

  6. Inspect the house with a black light a couple of weeks after the tenants have moved in to see if there have been any problems with spraying.

  7. Insist that the tenants contract with a company to clean up the pet waste in the yard.

  8. Have the tenants keep rugs near the entrances and plexiglass on the doors where pets are let out.

  9. Prohibit certain breeds, sizes, and types of pets you may be especially concerned about.

  10. Request tenants to take pictures of their pets and describe their personalities.

  11. Prohibit pets under one year old that are still being house-trained.

  12. State that "pets are conditional". Discriminating based on pets does not violate any laws so owners do not have to commit one way or the other before weighing all the factors. 


Our first advice to those who have to give up a pet is to take out a listing in the newspaper. It is a less costly and more effective way to place your pet in a good home than surrendering him or her to an adoption agency. You have the ability to meet the people who will love your friend and they will be able to judge his or her temperament in an environment your pet is comfortable in. Most importantly, you will have the peace of mind knowing that your friend has a good home.


If that does not work, contact Animal Ark which is Minnesota's largest no-kill shelter. Though they are small and have limited funds, they have built and maintained the most elaborate sheltering available for homeless dogs, cats and rabbits.