Check the Fine Print of Your Housing Agreement for Pet Clauses
Finding living arrangements is one of the first things you’ll need to do as a travel nurse. This is a difficult task by itself, but it can be even more complicated when you have a pet.
Many rental properties have pet clauses. You might have to look harder to find housing that welcomes pets. And even when you find the right housing, you might be in for extra fees or subject to strict rules. It’s best to investigate housing options thoroughly, for the sake of you, your pet, and your wallet.
Common pet restrictions
When searching for housing, you’re likely to come across at least one clause that restricts pets in some way. It’s important to take note of these specific restrictions. Missing them might result in fines, or worse — losing your housing. Here are some of the most common restrictions:
- Type of pet — Some apartment complexes are okay with cats but prohibit all dogs. Others may have more specific restrictions, such as allowing birds and reptiles but not cats or dogs.
- Breeds — Restrictions on pet breeds are very common. These usually concern dogs, since their size, energy level, and vocalization might vary depending on the breed. In addition, some breeds are also deemed “aggressive” and may not be welcome.
- Sizes — Many apartments restrict pets based on size, prohibiting pets over a certain weight. Again, this restriction is commonly aimed at dogs because of the variety of sizes dogs can grow to.
- Number of pets — If your housing contract allows pets, it may specify that you’re only allowed to have one or two. Bringing more might lead to fees or fines.
Many of these restrictions exist to protect the apartment complex’s property and its inhabitants. For example, large or aggressive dogs may scare other tenants, and cats might destroy the apartment’s carpeting.
Pet fees, deposits, and rent
Also common in lease agreements are clauses about pet deposits, rent, and fees. While these all sound similar, they each serve their own purpose. You may have to pay one or a combination of these, so watch out for them in your lease.
- Pet deposit — Pet deposits are one-time refundable payments made before moving in, similar to a security deposit. The deposit protects your landlord against damage your pet may cause, and this money is returned if no damage is present after you move out.
- Pet fees — Pet fees are essentially the same as pet deposits, but they are non-refundable, meaning your landlord keeps the money whether your pet causes damage or not.
- Pet rent — Pet rent is a monthly payment to your landlord on top of your normal rent. Landlords may ask for pet rent instead of charging pet fees.
A little conversation can go a long way
Searching for housing that both allows pets and is affordable can be a challenge — but it’s not impossible. When beginning your search, start early to give yourself extra time to solve pet issues. Look for housing on listing websites that provide a “pet-friendly” filter to narrow your search.
If you find the perfect housing but restrictions get in the way, don’t give up hope. You may be able to talk to the landlord about your pet and present them in a positive light to get the landlord to make an exception. Proof of training, a reference letter from your current landlord, or a compromise about higher security deposits or rent might help the landlord change their mind.
Work with your recruiter when planning to bring your pet along on assignment. They might be able to help you navigate restrictions and pet fees, or even help you find pet-friendly housing you and your pet will love.