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Finding rental housing with pets in the Bay Area can be tough.


Living in the Bay Area is expensive, competitive and challenging — especially when you’re seeking a home for you and your furry (or feathery) friend. Many listings for rental properties simply state they do not allow any pets.

As a prospective tenant, one of the most powerful tools you have is to allow plenty of time for your search, and to be thoroughly prepared.

You will find that several rental websites will let you filter by pet-friendly options. Once you identify properties you are interested in, present you and your pet(s) as responsible future tenants by following these tips:

While searching for rental housing

Prepare a comprehensive pet resume packet that includes:

  • A list of your pet’s past references, i.e.:
    • Past landlords and neighbors
    • Trainers
    • Groomers
    • Veterinarians
    • Dog walkers & pet sitters
  • Veterinarian statement of your pet’s current good health
  • Proof of current vaccines
  • Proof of spay/neuter if applicable
  • Proof of your pet’s license if applicable
  • A photo of your pet, well-lit and happily in the company of people.
  • A disaster plan that shows you have prepared a kit and plan for your pet. Provide your landlord an emergency contact for matters relating to your pet in your absence.
  • A signed copy of Marin Humane’s Dog Guardian Pledge if applicable.
  • A good behavior certificate for your pet, for example by completing a Marin Humane dog training class:
    • Family Dog 1
    • Canine Good Citizen
  • Evidence of any pet health insurance you carry.

 

Once you have provided the above kit when you are serious about a rental, consider arranging a meet & greet for your pet and the landlord at the residence you are hoping to rent.

Express your intention to have renter’s insurance that covers liability for property and personal injury.

Be prepared to pay additional fees as part of having a pet in a rental, though you can always attempt to negotiate these, based on the excellent pet guardianship you will have demonstrated above. Additional fees take the form of an additional payment at the beginning of the rental term and must be refundable under California law, notwithstanding amounts withheld for the actual cost of damage caused by your pet beyond reasonable wear and tear.

The Marin Humane Pet Safety Net program aims to keep pets healthy and with their guardians who love them, including assisting low-income people with funds for pet rental deposits which would be payable directly to a landlord or rental agency. This support is delivered on a funds-available basis. Please review our Pet Safety Net guidelines for more information about this program and how to apply.

When you find your rental housing

  • Verify written pet permission in your lease or rental agreement. Don’t sign a lease with just a “handshake” provision for your pet.
  • Know your pet deposit or security deposit amounts and terms.
  • Document the condition of your rental with photos just before you move in.
    • If your pet does cause damage, document that as well to make sure only reasonable amounts are deducted from your pet deposit later, if you choose not to have the damage repaired yourself.

 

After you move in

  • Make sure your neighbors remain great allies.
    • Occasionally ask your neighbors if they hear any noise from your animal(s). It’s better to be proactive than to hear about a problem only after a neighbor is irritated by it and possible reported it to the landlord.
    • Use a security camera that records time and date to see if complaints are legitimate while you’re away.
  • If you get a pet nuisance complaint or pet welfare concern inquiry:
    • Enlist neighbors to vouch for your pet.
    • Work directly with complaining neighbors to stop the problem if it’s legitimate.
    • Once the problem is solved, ask your neighbors to communicate that to the landlord.