In May 2016, in response to the Fort McMurray wildfire, RENTCafé launched a Centralized Housing Registry website in collaboration with the Government of Alberta, Canada to help residents who evacuated find temporary or permanent housing. About 90,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and local media and housing organizations helped spread the word. With over 100,000 page visits the website has helped thousands of people find new homes.
Then in September 2017 two hurricanes hit the southern U.S. and RENTCafé got to work again with similar registries for those whose homes were flooded in Texas by Hurricane Harvey and whose homes were damaged or destroyed in Florida by Hurricane Irma. Media and organizations helped spread the news and the Hurricane Harvey Housing Registry and Hurricane Irma Housing Registry websites.
RENTCafé Housing Registries allow property managers and landlords to list their available units, along with any special concessions they may offer. Prospective renters can search the registry as they would otherwise on the RENTCafé website. Neither group is charged any fees to list or search. Given the magnitude of the hurricane’s aftermath and the number of people affected, the Housing Registry will remain available as long as necessary.
And for those with pets the housing search also includes not only finding rentals that permit pets, but also what the specific pet policy says so evacuees can hopefully find suitable housing as quickly as possible without worrying about how to accommodate their pets.
RENTCafé is available all the time to search for general rentals as well as emergency rentals and has searchable categories for rentals that allow pets.
Renting With Pets
Back to school, or just time to move because the lease is up, always keep your pets in mind, those you own, and those you may adopt. Rental issues are one way that cats in particular often find themselves homeless and on the street or in a shelter, but considerate planning would have avoided that abandonment or surrender. Online rental searches can help you find places that will suit you and your pet along with asking others who rent with pets about where they live.
Consider your pet when moving
When you rent, you are using space owned by someone else and you pretty much have to follow their rules regarding keeping companion animals in the space you rent. Whether you are moving into a rental for the first time or from one rental to another, never assume pets are permitted, always check and assure they are before singing a lease. One would hope those who live with companion animals would take them into account when finding a living space to rent but “moving and can’t take my cat” is often the way things work out and animals are left homeless at the last minute.
Make sure you are permitted to have pets in your current rental before adopting
Just as bad is “have a cat but landlord doesn’t allow”, and just the same, the pet needs to find a home in a hurry. Many shelters and rescues will do a landlord check when someone adopts a pet from their organization to be certain the adopter is permitted to have pets in their rental. Rescuing a pet, picking up a free kitten or adopting from someone who just wants to unload unwanted pets doesn’t include a landlord check, so before you adopt, read your lease, check with your rental’s owner or manager and find it in writing that you are permitted to have a pet. The lease may also stipulate the species, size, number and other details about the pets that are permitted.
Pets and campus
College campuses regularly have colonies of homeless cats who’ve been adopted or rescued, often never spayed or neutered, and left behind when they weren’t permitted in dormitories or apartments, or when students left for the summer or graduated. College is expensive and time-consuming, and pets can be too, and the same rental restrictions apply in student housing as they do in any rentals anywhere. If you can’t have a pet, don’t take one in. It’s hard to turn an animal away, so if an animal needs help and you can’t take it in, find a rescue or shelter that can take care of it for you. If there is a chance you can’t take your pet with you when you leave for the summer or graduate and have no one to watch it or who will adopt it from you, consider what you will do with your pet. If a shelter is available that may be an option, but never consider simply abandoning it.
How to find a rental that permits pets
Finding a rental that allows pets can be a challenge, but people do it every day and, along with referrals from others who own pets, resources to search pet-friendly rentals are available online.
RENTCafe.com lists rentals worldwide, information comes from the property managers and the site is updated daily. The search begins with a zip code, city or state search, then gives you options for just about every attribute for living, including not only finding rentals that permit pets, but also what the specific pet policy says. At the bottom of their pages are rental categories with 20 selections from the most popular cities, and one of these selections is pet-friendly rentals.
Rent.com has a pet-friendly listing by city, state or zip code and by any criteria you need as well as general listings for rentals.
Hotpads.com, an online search used for both rentals and home purchases, includes pet-friendly information in their searches.
Basic guidelines to expect when renting with pets
Renting with your companion animals usually costs a little more and reduces the number of places you can choose from, but we already know we’ll be paying a little more for the joy of living with a cherished animal companion and we often modify our living space to accommodate them without it being a major inconvenience. Data compiled by Hotpads.com shows that on average renters with animal companions pay 3.5% more than they otherwise would and have 33% fewer apartments to choose from. They used their data on available rentals to rank the metropolitan areas with the most pet-friendly rental listings in apartment buildings throughout the country. You can read the information on their website.
If you are considering a move and have an animal companion, please consider them when choosing a rental. Don’t presume everyone permits pets, and don’t find out when you are about to move in. Many rentals permit certain pets or limit the numbers. It’s also risky business, as well as a breach of contract, to move in with your animal companion when having an animal in your rental is not in your lease.
If you are permitted to have your animal companions in your rental be responsible with their care and activities—pee-soaked carpets, shredded flooring and walls and scratched woodwork may make a property owner who permits pets change their mind after they clean up after a destructive animal or an owner who neglects clean up, and that also makes it hard for future renters who may have to pay even more as a premium to have their animal companions with them.
Also understand that if you were permitted an animal companion when you signed your lease and are told that has changed at a later date you have rights to appeal that decision which vary from city to city and state to state.
This information is provided for reference only. I am not in any way promoting or endorsing any of the organizations or businesses linked here. This information changes periodically so I check my list quarterly to be certain all the links are still valid. I add new links as I hear of them.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters Tuesday: Rescue Stories Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork Thursday: New Merchandise Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!