A happy dog enjoying play time
A happy dog enjoying play time

Renters who have a dog or more than one dog may face additional challenges when renting an apartment or a house. One of the primary challenges the renters may face is finding a living situation which is acceptable to them and also willing to accept their pets. This can be difficult as many rental properties do not allow dogs at all. Those who do allow animals on the property may place certain restrictions on they size and breed of dog which may reside on the property.

Finding an Acceptable Living Situation

The first step in renting with dogs is to find an acceptable living situation. For those who wish to rent with dogs, the first question to be asked should be whether or not dogs are allowed to live on the property. This is important because it can save the renter a great deal of time. The renter may otherwise invest a great deal of time learning more about the property or even undergoing a credit check only to find out pet are not permitted.

Foxy in play pose
Condo Alexandria Associate “Foxy” greets visitors

For some dog owners, finding a rental situation which allows dogs is not the end of the search. The renter should also confirm the type of dog he owns will be allowed to live on the property. This may include both the size of the dog as well as the breed as some apartment complexes place limitations on the size of the dog and also prohibit certain breeds. Again confirming these facts early in the search for an apartment can be a tremendous time savings especially for those who own large or commonly banned breeds.

Renters should also consider the surrounding area when selecting a rental property. An ideal location would be one in which there is an adequate location to walk and exercise the dogs. Areas with large grassy areas may be ideal while areas which do not have a location to walk a dog may be problematic.

Read Contracts Carefully

Renters who have dogs should read their contract carefully before making a decision to rent a particular property. This is important because many landlords may impose restrictions on renters who own dogs. These restrictions may include, but are not limited to, requiring an additional security deposit for the renter, requiring specific cleaning methods on the carpets after the renter vacates the apartment and holding the renter responsible if the dog engages in nuisance barking. Nuisance barking can be a problem in apartment situations where the apartments are located close together and even share a common wall. Renters should be aware that in some situations, nuisance barking can be a cause for eviction. For these reasons, renters who own dogs should take the time to familiarize themselves with the rental contract.

Take Care of Your Rental Property

Grover has lunch
Grover has lunch

Finally, renters who have dogs may have to take additional efforts to maintain their apartment. This may include more diligent cleaning, especially of the carpets. Renters with dogs should respond quickly to accidents in the house to minimize the possibility of permanent staining and odors. Each accident should be addressed immediately and every effort should be made to clean the affected area completely.

Renters with dogs should also vacuum regularly especially if their dog is a heavy shedder. This will help to keep the living environment cleaner and will also minimize the amount of cleaning required when the renter vacates the property. Regularly vacuuming will prevent hair from being embedded into the carpet so deeply that it is difficult to remove.

Finally, renters with dogs should take care to pick up after their dogs while on walks and to keep their dogs leashed while in common areas. Many cities have leash laws and laws regarding picking up after dogs. Even if these laws are not in effect, renters should follow these policies as a courtesy to their neighbors. Additionally, keeping dogs on leashes during walks helps to ensure their safety by preventing them from running into the street.

Featured Rentals

1111 Oronoco St #330

Lg 2BR/2BA + Den w/ window in The Henry! 1 garage parking spaces + 2 storage units included. High-end finishes throughout: granite kitchen & baths, GE Profile stainless steel appliances, wide-plank floors throughout, etc. Full service building offers 7-day/week front desk, gym, party room w/ theater, multiple roof decks, landscaped courtyard. Just a couple blocks to Metro & King St. Free Trolley! [The Henry - $3,295]

8380 Greensboro Dr #205

Bright home with renovated kitchen, new flooring & bathrooms fresh paint. Walking distance tometro!! Near Tyson's Corner Mall and Restaurants, as well as major routes (I-495, Rt. 66)Gated community, full sport facility, indoor/outdoor pool. Email or Text Listing Agent with questions. [Rotonda - $2,000]

888 Quincy St #2004

Breath-taking Monument views from this large Penthouse 1 BR + den. Gourmet kitchen w/ Sub-Zero and Miele appliances, range hood, and cooktop. Breakfast bar flows into spacious living area w/ hardwood floors. Master w/ designer closets and remote-controlled blinds. Private access to PH level. 2 parking spots + extra storage. Liberty Center features 24/7 front desk, rooftop pool/deck, gym and more! [The Residences At Liberty Center - $2,500]

715 Washington St #C-13

GORGEOUS! Remodeled 1st floor 1BR unit w/9' ceilings & hardwood floors has BRAND NEW KITCHEN! Granite counters, new textured composite tiles, new stainless steel appliances, new kitchen track lighting plus room for table & chairs. BA remodeled w/ ceramic tile. New bath vanity & extra large brushed stainless medicine cabinet. Comes w/parking pass & separate storage unit. Only a mile frm the metro! [Old Town Gardens - $1,450]

dog at training academy by the River
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Julie Nesbitt

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Julie Nesbitt is an ABR who has served buyers in some of Alexandria’s most exclusive neighborhoods.  She is a top producing agent who has listed and sold property in Northern Virginia. In addition to helping folks buy, sell and rent property in Northern Virginia, Julie is the primary administrator of the property management services performed by Nesbitt Realty and Condo Alexandria. Call Julie at (703)765-0300.