Le Dog and Le Apartment

Looking for an apartment con fair, furry friend can make a person feel like a real leper. For, no matter how docile your darling may be, convincing a potential landlord of that is often another matter. Luckily, there are pet owners who have come before you, with helpful, and occasionally surprising, advice.

How to Get IN:

• The Pet Letter of Recommendation –As Move.com ( http://blogs.move.com/rentingwithpets/2006/09/11/what’s-on-your-“pet-resume”/) suggests, having past landlords describe your pet on paper can make a huge difference for future landlords. Essentially, what they’re worried about is what they don’t know; will Tikey destroy their new, hundred thousand dollar investment? If you can assure them otherwise, many become instantly pliable.
• The Family Card –Landlords aren’t heartless. They just think of their 3 flat as their living, breathing baby(mine actually refers to the place as “she”, no joke) and perhaps that’s similar to how you feel about your pet. Convincing them that your dog is not a luxury, but a vital part of your life could open the door to their hearts—and to your new home.

Why it might be best to stay OUT:

Persuading your landlord to let you and yours into their building is no small feat, but there are valid reasons why this still might not be the best place for you, especially if you value harmonious neighbor relations.
• In some buildings, there are two elevators, one for pets and one for people, which while an inconvenience, is often a symptom of a greater problems to come. A friend lived in such a building and was always self conscious about her lil pup, Ginger, and which neighbords secretly hated her for the occasional bark. She might have been paranoid, but you should feel comfortable where you live.
• Non-pet owners often are less understanding about noise and other, er, situations.
• Say goodbye to any easy, outside help watching/walking your dog if you’re in a bind or go out of town for the weekend. A pal of mine lives in a dog-friendly building and they even have a casual walking club, which is especially handy in winter.

But, how do I find a pro-animal complex, you ask? There are various websites in existence for just that purpose. If you want national as well as state listings, go to: http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/renting_with_pets_the_online_resource_for_rental_managers_and_pet_owners/finding_animalfriendly_rental_housing/animal_friendly_apts.html

Common Sense Notes:
• If you’re living in a studio apartment, a big, boisterous dog will be trouble.
• If you’re living with roommates, make sure they are not allergic to your little guy, especially if he sheds. I wasn’t allergic to a friend’s dog when I stayed at her place in NYC before a big interview–but my very black suit did attract much unwanted white haired attention after the fuzzy monster nearly tackled me in the hallway.
• If you are buying furniture, consider if your dog sheds and how it will look on, say, a black fabric couch.
• If you live in a truly urban zone, finding an apartment near a park is a necessity.

**On the random-o-meter, did you know a man in NYC was recently caught living in an apartment with both an alligator and a Tiger? ( http://lists.envirolink.org/pipermail/ar-news/Week-of-Mon-20031006/007613.html) Yep, he’s facing eviction—but only for not paying his rent.

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Author My First Apartment

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I've lived in apartments in 6 cities (including 2 foreign countries). Does that make me an expert? As of now, my ceiling isn't leaking and I don't have rodents (knock on wood) -- so I'm going to say yes . . . but ask me again tomorrow:) These days, I'm enjoying life Chicago style, but my years in Brooklyn are never far from my mind. P.S. By day I work at Cars.com, but these opinions are totally, 100% my own.

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