Young woman cleaning big dog

If you’re the owner a large dog—especially a pup that is considered “high-risk”—you probably already know how difficult it can be to find a pet-friendly rental, let alone one that allows large, high-risk dogs. Property owners are often reluctant to rent to pet owners due to the inevitable wear and tear that occurs, even from smaller animals. As the size of the dog increases, so does the potential damage—then throw in noise from barking, insurance restrictions, and constant “presents” on the lawn—and it’s easy to see why it can be a struggle to rent with a large dog.

Be patient and proactive with landlords and be ready to prove why you and your dog are the perfect tenants, here’s how.

Use your resources

Contact the Humane Society or animal care/control agency serving the community you plan to move to, as they may be able to provide you with a list of pet-friendly apartment communities. In fact, the Humane Society’s website has a page dedicated to finding animal-friendly apartments in each state. Additionally, MyPitbullisFamily.com provides a similar resource for finding communities that allow large, high-risk breeds.

Be patient

Understand that the process of finding a rental with a large dog can be a time-consuming process. Don’t wait until the last minute and give yourself plenty of time to research, investigate, and potentially negotiate with property owners. Try to give yourself an extra couple of months if you plan on finding a place that allows a large and/or high-risk dog.

Negotiate

Dealing with a property owner directly, rather than an apartment complex, allows you to meet the landlord in the middle and negotiate around their concerns. Consider offering to pay an additional pet deposit or the extra insurance costs associated with a high-risk breed. Many landlords simply cannot rent to large dogs due to the costs—try to make it worth their while to have you, and your furry friend, as loyal tenants.

Prove you’re responsible

Consider asking your current landlord to write you a letter of recommendation, which outlines cleanliness, noise levels, and the state of your current residence. If you can get a line in there about how you always pick up after Fido—the better off your chances. Certainly, provide documentation of any training classes your pup has completed, as well as, a letter from your veterinarian stating you’ve been diligent in your pet’s medical care (e.g. spayed or neutered and vaccinated against rabies).

Pet interview

Ask the property owner if they would like to meet your dog. If your dog truly is sweet and well mannered it can be hard for a landlord to say “no” following a face-to-face meeting. Since many property owners are concerned about fleas, highlight to prospective landlords that you maintain an active flea-control program for your pet and home. Have your pet well groomed for the interview and try to drive home that the same pride you take in caring for your pet extends to taking care of your home.

Steer away from the huge apartment complexes

Chances are, the larger the complex the more likely they will have breed and weight restrictions. Try searching for single-family rentals because dealing with a compassionate landlord is much easier than attempting to change a complex’s policy.

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