Finding an apartment in northern Colorado can be challenging, especially if you have a pet. But by understanding the rules and process, you can have a smoother transition to renting with a pet and find a great property that works for you both.
Here is everything you need to know about renting an apartment with pets in Colorado:
Not Every Rental Allows Pets
If you’re looking to rent with a pet, you aren’t alone. Surveys found that 72% of renters have a pet. But that doesn’t mean you can bring your pet everywhere. Only 55% of landlords across the country allow pets, which can make it challenging to find a great place to live that also welcomes your animal companion.
Landlords don’t have a legal requirement to allow pets, which means the choice is up to them. And not every rental allows pets.
There are a number of factors that contribute to this decision, including the increased risk and cost for landlords to maintain a property with a pet, as well as homeowner’s association restrictions at certain types of properties.
The exception is for service animals, which are trained to perform certain tasks and don’t live as pets. The Americans with Disabilities Act states that landlords can’t prohibit a service animal from staying with a tenant, even if the property doesn’t allow pets.
Landlords also aren’t allowed to charge any additional pet fees like a pet deposit or monthly pet rent for service animals. To rent with a service animal, be prepared with paperwork that proves their status as a qualified service animal.
Finding A Pet-Friendly Rental Can Take Time
Because not every rental property allows pets, finding a great rental that meets your living criteria and allows your pet can take more time. Once they find a place, pet owners tend to stay in their rentals for longer, which also limits open inventory. Plan ahead and allow extra time for your search to find a great pet-friendly rental.
Ask specifically about the pet policy when looking at potential rentals. Just because a landlord doesn’t have a specific pet policy doesn’t automatically mean pets are allowed.
Find out the rules and costs of having a pet so you can make an informed decision about the rental property and not have to back out at the last minute.
However, there are some steps you can take to potentially speed up the process, especially if a landlord is on the fence about allowing your pet.
Highlight your rental history and include a letter of recommendation or reference from a previous landlord to show that you and your pet are responsible and follow the rules. Having someone else vouch for you and your pet can give the new landlord some peace of mind.
You can also prove that your pet is well trained, such as by showing that they have completed a training course or behavior program. Most courses provide certificates at completion, which can show your landlord that your pet is housetrained and knows how to behave.
A note from your veterinarian that your pet is healthy and up to date on any vaccinations or medications can also make you and your pet more appealing to a property manager.
When looking at potential rentals, be open about the fact that you have a pet. The worst thing you can do is try to sneak your pet into your rental home or apartment, which can be a breach of your contract and lead to getting evicted.
Having open conversations with potential landlords before you sign helps everyone get on the same page and avoid future issues.
Be sure to ask if there are certain places dogs can be off leash, like a community dog park or common area. Find out if dogs are able to relieve themselves anywhere on the property or if there are restrictions.
You’ll also want to know the consequences of these rules, such as if they lead to a fine or eviction. Be sure you get everything in writing so you can refer to it later if issues arise.
Once you’ve found a place, you’ll likely have to sign extra paperwork with your lease to bring your pet into the rental such as a pet addendum. Be sure to read everything and keep copies of all the paperwork.
Renting With a Pet Comes With Extra Costs
Pet owners know that owning a pet comes with costs, but some may not realize those costs often transfer over into their living situation.
When looking for rental properties and creating a budget, be sure to account for the extra costs of renting with a pet.
Even for properties that do allow pets, they very commonly require a pet deposit and/or a pet fee. A pet deposit is added to the traditional security deposit to protect against any damage the pet may cause.
The cost of the pet deposit varies by property but typically ranges between $200-$500.. In most cases, the pet deposit is refundable when your lease is up if the property is well maintained.
The pet fee, also known as pet rent, is a monthly fee added to your rent. This fee is non-refundable and typically ranges from $25-$100 a month. This money goes to keeping the property maintained for pets and covering any pet-related incidents that may occur.
Owning a pet may also increase or change your renter’s insurance policy and impact the landlord’s liability. Many pet owners also pay for pet insurance to cover any treatments or emergencies for their pets.
Although typically not required to rent with pets, having pet insurance can show the landlord that you are serious about taking care of your pet.
Pet Restrictions Still Exist
Just because your application is accepted doesn’t mean you’re home free. Even at pet-friendly rentals, restrictions still exist.
Many properties have breed or size restrictions, which means they only let certain types of pets live on the property.
Breed restrictions are often to limit dogs that could be dangerous or aggressive to other tenants or cause more damage to the property.
Size restrictions can be a way of limiting breeds or of making sure the pet has room in the unit.
An issue can arise if your dog grows during the time you live in the rental. You may have moved in with a pet that is under the size limit, but as your pet grows they might not be allowed to live there in the future. Consider this rule before you sign a lease and keep an eye on your pet’s size if they are close to the limit.
Another common restriction is the number of pets allowed. You may have signed a lease with one pet but want to adopt more before your contract is up.
Just because you have one pet in the rental doesn’t mean you can freely adopt more. Most properties limit the number of pets to one or two, so consider the rules before you bring in any more pets.
Prepare Your Rental Property For Your Pet
Even after you move in, renting with a pet still requires extra attention.
Prepare your rental property by making sure there is a space for your pet and everything they need, including food and water, a bed, and toys as needed.
Moving into a new space can be stressful for animals, so be prepared with all the necessities to make the transitions as smooth as possible. Walk your pet around the new property to help them become familiar, and be sure to give them a tag or collar so that they can be returned to you if they get lost.
Be aware of your neighbors, especially if you share walls or live above or below someone. They likely don’t want to hear your dog barking or whining at all hours of the day and night, so consider if your pet needs extra training or a dog walker to help when you aren’t home.
That doesn’t mean you have to be hyper-aware of every move your pet makes, but be considerate to your landlord and neighbors and provide your pet with the toys and training they need to be well-behaved, healthy, and happy.
Keep your dog leased when outside, except for in designated off-leash areas. This not only ensures you follow the pet rules of the property, but it can help other tenants feel more comfortable around your pet. And of course, always clean up after your pet.
Renting with a pet in Colorado gives you the best of both worlds: a short-term living situation that allows you to enjoy the local area with your animal by your side.
Knowing the rules, processes, and extra costs can help the entire process go much more smoothly.