Cats     |     Dogs     |     Horses     |     Birds     |     Small Pets

What renters need to

know on Renting with

Dogs and Cats

The tenant's guide to keeping your Pet
& a guideline for property owners

(Just Say Yes to Pets!!)
[Portions reprinted courtesy of the SF SPCA]

Be prepared!!

It's not easy to find pet-friendly rental housing in most cities,
so the SF SPCA developed the Open Door Program and agreed to
share much of their materials with us. We would like to thank the
SF SPCA for providing such a valuable resource to pet owners.
If you are in the area of the San Francisco SPCA, be sure to pick
up their tenant's guide. The address is 2500 16th Street, SF CA
94103. Tel: 415-554-3000.

When looking for a place that will take your pets, remember the

Be prepared to work hard and spend time.
Find out what makes landlords say yes to pets.
Demonstrate that you are a responsible pet owner and a good
Be a great representative for all pet-owning tenants.

Tips for Tenants Seeking Housing:

Bring up the subject of pets in person with the property owner
rather than over the phone, if possible. Personally presenting
information about yourself and your pet may help convince the
landlord to say yes.

Prepare a dossier on your pet to present to the landlord.
Include your pet's resume and references from former landlords,
neighbors, obedience instructors, and veterinarians. Offer to
sign a pet agreement and pay an additional pet deposit.

Encourage a pet owner to meet your freshly groomed, well-behaved

A Responsible Pet Owner

Creates a dossier (see sample below) about the pet, including
such documents as proof of spay/neuter, records of up-to-date
vaccinations, indications of regular veterinary visits, and
obedience school diplomas;

Has written references from former landlords and neighbors, dog
trainers, obedience class instructors, and veterinarians
specifically discussing the pet;

Offers to sign a pet agreement with the landlord;

Encourages the potential landlord to meet the well-groomed, well
behaved pet;

Invites the landlord to see the animal in his or her current
setting, and to check on the pet after move-in;

Always cleans up after his or her pet;

Has the pet spayed or neutered;

Provides appropriate exercise and attention for the pet daily,
and makes suitable arrangements for the same when planning to be
away; and

Doesn't let the dog or cat roam the streets, and knows the health
& safety benefits of keeping a cat indoors and a dog under

If you're a prospective tenant, impress upon your potential
landlord your knowledge and practice of responsible pet
ownership. Usually, responsible pet owners make responsible, good

Why a Pet Resume?

A pet resume provides an opportunity to present potential
landlords with a summary of your companion animal's best
qualities and examples of your responsibility as a pet owner. Try
to address the following areas in your pet resume.

Mention anything about your pet's age, activity level, and/or
breed traits that help make him or her a "good tenant." Emphasize
characteristics that make your pet suited for city living. Tell
the landlord something special about your companion animal's
personality, and how much you care about your pet.

Give examples of your pet's good behavior, and your
responsibility. Has your dog been to obedience school or had
special training? If your dog has lived in apartment before and
is accustomed to it, be sure to say so. If you have more than one
cat, let the landlord know how well your pets get along, and keep
each other company while you are away. If your cat uses a
scratching post, say so and also note your cat is litter box

There can be a big difference between a 10-year old dog and a
frisky puppy. If your pet is quiet and calm and/or less active,
point that out. If you have an active dog, explain how you
fulfill his or her exercise requirements.

Explain how you keep your pet clean and free of fleas.

Let the landlord know your dog or cat is spayed or neutered and
explain that this makes for a well-behaved, healthier pet. Also
note that the animal is up-to-date on his or her vaccinations,
and mention who your pet's veterinarian is.

Describe your arrangements for your pet when you go to work or on

If you are a member of the San Francisco SPCA or other animal
protection organization, be sure to mention it in your pet

In addition to your pet's resume, you may also want to attach
reference letters from current and pervious landlords and/or
neighbors; certificates of completion of obedience/training
classes; references from your pet's trainer or groomer; and a
health certificate from your vet; and a picture of your pet,
especially if the animal is cute.

Sample Pet Resume

(For a dog:)

Bingo the Dingo
(John & Jane Doe, owners)
1234 Canine Court, Apt. 5
San Francisco, CA 94100
(415) 654-4321

Bingo is a friendly, well-behaved dog who is accustomed to
apartment life. He is a five-year old medium-sized black Lab mix
who is mature, calm and easy going. We have had Bingo for four
years, and he is a cherished member of our family. If you have
any questions about our dog, please ask.

San Francisco SPCA Dog Training School, 199_.
Bingo is fully housebroken, and obeys voice commands. He does not
bark excessive, although he will give a short warning bark to
alert us to strangers.

We walk Dingo twice a day, and go to one of the city's many
off-leash areas for more vigorous exercise at least three times a
week. Bingo's behavior on an doff leash is exemplary. He loves
the beach, and friends often "borrow" him to go along with them.
These activities satisfy Bingo's exercise requirements, and he is
calm and contented relaxing indoors while we are away at work.

Bingo is neutered, which benefits both his behavior and his
health. He is kept up-to-date on all vaccinations, and receives
regular health exams at the All Pets Animal Hospital. We bathe
Bingo at least once a month and groom him at least twice a week.
He is on a year-round flea prevention program.

About Us
As dog owners, we always try to act responsibly. We have taken a
class on dog behavior, we always clean up after our dog, and we
arrange for reliable pet care if we are going out of town. We are
so sure Bingo will be a "good tenant," that we are willing to put
up an additional security deposit. We are members of the San
Francisco SPCA, and we are committed to responsible, caring pet

Our current landlord can be contacted at (415) 555-5555. Please
also see attached letters of recommendation and other

We would be happy for any potential landlord to meet Dingo, visit
him in his current home, and/or check to see how he is adjusting
to his new surroundings.

(For a cat):

(John & Jane Doe, owners)
1234 Canine Court, Apt. 5
San Francisco, CA 94100
(415) 654-4321

Lucky is a friendly, well-behaved cat who is used to being
indoors and is accustomed to apartment life. She is a five-year
old female tabby who enjoys sleeping in the sun and playing with
her toys. She has a large scratching post which is the only thing
she uses to sharpen her claws, and she is fully letterbox
trained. We have had Lucky for four years, and she is a cherished
member of our family. If you have any questions about our cat,
please ask.

Lucky is a spayed, which benefits both her behavior and her
health. Since she does not go outside, fleas are generally not a
problem though she is on a year-round flea prevention program. We
groom Lucky often and she is naturally very tidy. She is also
kept up-to-date on all of her vaccinations, and receives regular
health exams at All Pets Animal Hospital.

About Us
As cat owners, we always try to act responsibly. We clean Lucky's
litter box every day, and always dispose of litter in a sealed
bag. We always arrange for reliable pet care if we are going out
of town. We are so sure Lucky will be a "good tenant," that we
are willing to put up an additional security deposit. We are
members of the San Francisco SPCA, and we are committed to
responsible, caring pet ownership.

Our current landlord can be contacted at (415) 555-5555. Please
also see attached letters of recommendation and other

We would be happy for any potential landlord to meet Lucky, visit
her in her current home, and/or check to see how she is adjusting
to her new surroundings.

Pets in Rental Housing: Myths & Realities

Myth: "If I let one tenant have a pet, I'll have to let everyone
have one."

Reality: Many landlords fear that if they allow pets they will be
overrun with irresponsible pet owners and the problems they
create. But with a few simple procedures and precautions in
place, landlords can successfully screen out these people without
penalizing responsible pet owners who will make excellent

Myth: One pet might be okay, but more than one is just too many."

Reality: In some cases, a second pet may actually make life
easier all around. Most companion animals, including dogs and
cats, are social beings and companionship is one of their highest
priorities. For a pet that spends a lot of time alone, a playmate
will help alleviate boredom. And the playmates need not be of the
same species; many dogs and cats, for instance, can become the
best of friends when raised together or properly introduced.

Myth: Dogs need big back yards and someone to be home with them
all day.

Reality: Dogs do need regular exercise and a chance to spend time
with their human companions. But when these requirements are met,
dogs can be happy in the city or country. And, fortunately, it's
easy to keep a dog happy a city where there are numerous
off-leash dog runs to make exercising and socializing fun and

Myth: Small dogs are okay, but big dogs just aren't suited for
apartment life."

Reality: It's not a dog's size that determines how well it will
do in rental housing; it's a dog's energy level and exercise
requirements that are important. Many large dogs tend to be more
laid back and easy going than their tiny counterparts. More
active breeds may require a greater commitment from their owners
to ensure these animals get the exercise they need. Other
factors, such as age and temperament, can also be important.
Older dogs, even larger one, for instance, are generally less
active than puppies.

A Guideline for Property Owners
successful Pet Policies

The following are some general guidelines for property owners
when setting up a pet policy. These are not hard and fast rules,
and policies for individual properties should be designed to best
meet your specific needs.

Start with screening
Careful screening of prospective tenants is the first step to a
successful pet policy. By asking a few simple questions, property
owners can screed out irresponsible pet owners and find the
responsible ones who will make good tenants.

Put it in writing
A written agreement protects the interests of both owner and
tenant, and pet rules and procedures help avoid

Charge reasonable pet deposits

What is reasonable may vary, depending on the nature of each
rental. While many landlords don't charge any additional pet
deposit, once survey showed the average pet deposit was $150.

Establish limits
Limit permissible animals to common pets like dogs, cats,
rodents, fish, and birds. A policy on how many pets each tenant
may own can also help keep the building's pet population at
manageable levels.

Set parameters
Should certain types of pets be confined to tenants' apartments?
Should other pets be permitted in all or only parts of the common
areas? Should dogs be leashed when in hallways and other communal
areas? Establish pet regulations in advance, before any conflicts

Ensure cleanliness
A responsible pet owner will agree to immediately pick up and
dispose of dog feces, bag kitty litter before placing in garbage
containers, and take other necessary sanitation measures.

Require spaying and neutering
Spayed and neutered animals are generally healthier, better
behaved, and more suited to apartment living than their unaltered
counterparts. That an animal is spayed or neutered is one
indication of a responsible pet owner. Be cautious of pet owners
who have not spayed or neutered their pets as this can indicate
an indifference to the welfare of the community at large.

Determine emergency arrangements
Property owners may want to keep a file with the names and
addresses of each pet's veterinarian and substitute caretakers
designated by the tenant.

Put disciplinary procedures in writing and enforce them fairly
These procedures might include a provision for warnings before
any punitive measures are taken. Whatever the policy, fair and
consistent enforcement will reduce disputes and make for better
relations between management and tenants.

All kinds of info on pet and animal Laws

Search our Site

Gift items pet lovers will Adore

Tippy & Alfred's Pet Newsletter

Stuffed Animals

Pet Supplies

Keep your Dog & Cat Healthy

Site Map