When you move, you want your pet to come with you. Finding a pet-friendly apartment isn’t impossible, but it can certainly seem that way sometimes when you start your search. When it’s time to find your new apartment, follow these guidelines to make the process a lot easier.

1. Start now

Don’t wait. The moment you decide you need or want to move, start looking at apartment complex websites and housing ads. Pet-friendly apartments fill up quickly, and you’ve got to jump at any opportunities you do find.

Check rental sites that gather different apartment complex listings, too. These sites will often have options you can use to filter results, including allowing pets. Note that many of the complexes listed on these sites may have been there for a while, so be prompt in contacting them. If you see, for example, that the Dallas Galleria apartments on UMoveFree have a vacancy, don’t wait until the next day to call them – call now!

2. Know your dog’s heritage

If you’re a dog owner, you should have a good idea of what breed or breeds your dog might be. You can get DNA tests that show the possible parentage of the dog if you don’t already know. While the exact breeds might not matter to you, they may matter to your new apartment management company. It’s common to find restrictions on breeds that are considered too dangerous, no matter how sweet the dog actually is. This is usually due to a restriction from the complex’s insurance company.

The DNA test has another advantage; some dangerous and non-dangerous breeds look similar, and you risk a neighbor mistakenly accusing you of breaking the pet policy. That test is proof that your dog is not one of the breeds that the complex doesn’t allow.

3. Pay attention to the details

Pet-friendly complexes may have additional restrictions that could disqualify your pet. For example, there may be a limit on how many you can have, such as two cats, or a limit on weight. You may need to bring the pet to the office so the staff can meet the pet and judge its behavior.

Keep in mind that a complex can allow all types of dogs and cats but restrict other pets. If you have a different type of pet, such as a hamster, rabbit, or lizard, you need to be sure that the complex will allow them. Do not try to cajole the management into allowing your pet if the rules state your type of pet isn’t allowed. It only annoys the management, and you could miss out on referrals to nearby complexes that allow the pet.

4. Be upfront

Don’t be tempted to fudge information to force your pet into the apartment. If your dog is over the complex’s weight limit, then that complex isn’t for you. If you have four cats and hope to make it look like you have two, go somewhere else. Not being honest about whether your pet situation matches the complex policy will only result in trouble – like being accused of breaking the lease.

5. Get a letter of reference

When you’ve found a complex that might take your pet, you can increase your chances of getting the place by presenting a letter of reference for your pet from your previous landlord. A note stating that the pet was quiet or did not create a lot of damage can be a valuable tool when there’s a lot of competition for the apartment.

black with white mixed color cat

Don’t give up on finding a place for you and your pet. Someone somewhere has a place and is looking for a tenant just like you.