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Pitching a Dog to Your Landlord

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One of the drawbacks of renting a house or an apartment, is having to live with pet restrictions. Your lease may not specifically state that pets are prohibited but it may have been implied when you first moved in. If your lease implicitly states "no pets" or "no dogs" then resign yourself to not having a dog until you move elsewhere. Do not attempt to sneak a dog in anyway, and do not argue the terms of your lease. When you first signed your lease your landlord will have made it clear whether the "no pets" restriction was negotiable or not.

Understanding Your Landlord's Point of View
Most landlords have good reason for not wanting dogs on rental property. Irresponsible dog owners are notorious for damaging floors, irritating neighbors, having smelly apartments, leaving messes everywhere, and being obnoxious in general about their dogs. And when you get right down to it, irresponsible dog owners far outnumber the responsible dog owners.

A lot of landlords may have started out allowing pets in there rental units, but one bad owner likely soured them on the idea. If a previous tenant allowed their dog to destroy a room, or barked all night causing numerous complaints, you are going to have a hard time convincing him that you will be different. A contract stating your intentions and obligations that you agree to abide by may help sway your landlord in your favor.

SAMPLE CONTRACT:
I, (tenant's name), agree to abide by the following rules while a dog is in residence and under my care. I will:
  1. clean up any and all messes my dog leaves anywhere on the property.
  2. ensure that my dog is friendly and approachable through training and socialization.
  3. prevent my dog from becoming a nuisance through training. This includes barking, jumping up on people, and all other annoying behaviors.
  4. keep my dog secure, supervised and under control at all times. I will not allow my dog to roam loose off-leash.
  5. Pay for, repair, or replace any goods or property that have been damaged or destroyed by my dog.
The resident dog will also:
  • be free of vermin (worms, fleas, etc.)
  • attend obedience classes.
  • be properly socialized.
  • be groomed regularly (either professionally or done at home).

Failure to abide by these rules will result in the dog's relocation and re-homing, or the tenant's relocation.

__________________ _____________
Tenant's Signature Date

Consider asking your landlord if he has any specific concerns he wants addressed and adding them into your contract. He may want you to adhere to certain size restrictions, or even have certain breeds he doesn't want in his building. regardless of whether it is a fair request or not, honor it. It is ultimately his property and he has the right to set force any rules and regulations that he wants.

In addition to a contract, you should be offering to pay a damage deposit, or adding a substantial amount to an existing deposit. Your landlord may require this even if you do not offer. Offering one before he requires one just is a gesture of good faith (or a preemptive strike).
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