A Helpful Guide to Renting with Pets in Seattle

April 25, 2017 | Renting, Pet Owner, Seattle

A Helpful Guide to Renting with Pets in Seattle

Owning a pet is one of life’s greatest joys, but there are occasions when owning a pet can become a challenge.  For instance, renting living quarters as a pet owner. Finding a desirable place to rent when you own dogs or cats can be a challenge but it is not impossible. Here in Seattle, renting with pets is easier than many other cities.  According to a recent report, Seattle ranks #2 out of the 25 most pet-friendly rental markets.

Still, in our pet-friendly rental market, there are some important things to know before you start your search for a pet-friendly rental.  We’ve done some research on this topic and found that there is quite a lot of information available about renting with pets.  We came up with our own list and hope you find it helpful.

Renting an Apartment or House with Pets

If you know that you will be moving to a certain area and you are a pet owner, it’s wise to allow plenty of time to search for a rental that welcomes pets.  Reach out to friends in the area or to real-estate agents to help you locate a pet-friendly rental. Below are some steps that you, the prospective tenant, can take to prove that you are a responsible pet owner and improve your chances of finding a pet-friendly rental.

  • First, find out if the landlord has size or breed restrictions. It is not uncommon to come up against these types of restrictions for rental properties.  Also, many landlords will only allow 1 pet or just cats, so learning, up front, what restrictions there are is of utmost importance.
  • Create a resume’ for your pet that includes a picture, their vaccination records, some information about their disposition and any records as to whether or not your pet has bitten someone.
  • A reference from your current or most recent landlord regarding your pet.
  • Written proof that your dog has completed obedience training.
  • Bring your pet to meet your new landlord, if possible, so they can see how your pet behaves.

Signing a Lease as a Pet Owner

Once you have secured a rental that welcomes your pet, there are some additional guidelines you should follow when it comes to signing the lease agreement.

  • If the lease says “No Pets” make sure that the landlord has made the change in the contract to reflect the agreement you have made regarding your pet(s). Both you and the landlord should initial a written "Pets Allowed" addendum.
  • Make sure that the agreement clearly spells out any additional deposits or extra fees that may be required for your pet(s).
  • Make sure the lease agreement clearly defines what you, the tenant, are responsible for should your pet(s) cause any damage to the rental property or should your pet injure another tenant.

Tenant Rights as a Pet Owner

Once a lease has been signed allowing for you and your pet(s) to move in, understand that you now have certain protections under the law regarding your tenancy.  For example, your landlord does not have the right to enter your dwelling and remove your pet, even if they should become a nuisance. Your landlord does not have the right to evict you without proper notification.

The laws that protect tenants and landlords are clearly defined in Tip 604 Code Compliance, detailing Seattle’s laws on Property Owner and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities.  These laws are in place to protect you, the tenant, and they also detail what is expected of you as a tenant as well as the obligations of the landlord.  Understand that evicting a tenant is a long and difficult process and should a landlord make attempts to evict you due to pet issues, you have certain protections under the law.

If the residence is outside of the Seattle city limits, the laws may differ. It is always best to check the specific laws for individual cities, counties, etc.

The best way to avoid problems when it comes to renting with pets is to have everything clearly defined in the lease. Keep a copy of your lease agreement handy at all times so that you may refer to it should anything come up and know your rights as a tenant. As long as you are doing your part to keep your pet happy and healthy in your new rental, you, your pet(s) and your landlord can enjoy a long and happy rental agreement.

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