Renting with Pets

The MSPCA's Pets in Housing Program

Pets in Housing was established to work with federal and state housing authorities to promote responsible pet ownership by implementing workable "pets allowed" policies and to enforce federal laws allowing elderly and disabled people living in subsidized housing to stay with their animals.

Pets in People Places Booklet

This booklet is available from the MSPCA and provides a blueprint for the introduction of pets into multi-unit housing for seniors and others. Written as a guide for designing a workable pet policy in both public and private multi-unit housing, it is intended to offer helpful advice to anyone - residents, managers, housing boards, and elected officials - who make decisions on the critical issue of allowing pets in rental housing. This booklet does not contain information on pet-friendly landlords or realtors.

This booklet is available in a .pdf version here.

If you would like a copy, please write to Pets in Housing, MSPCA, 350 South Huntington Ave., Boston, MA  02130 or e-mail KHolmquist@mspca.org.

Best Friends for Life: A Booklet on Humane Housing for Animals and People

The latest edition of Best Friends for Life covers:

  • A new federal law that allows pets in federally assisted family housing
  • Arguments that may allow animals in "no pet" privately owned housing
  • Responsible pet guardianship 
  • How to convince your landlord to adopt a "pets welcome" policy
  • Model rental guidelines that protect the rights of renters, animals, owners and management 
     

The first copy is free.  If you would like one copy, please write to Pets in Housing, MSPCA, 350 South Huntington Ave., Boston, MA  02130, e-mail KHolmquist@mspca.org.  For multiple copies, please send a check or money order for $2.95 to the MSPCA at the address above.

Finding a Pets-Allowed Apartment 

The internet has made it easier to find a pet friendly apartment in Massachusetts. 

Click here to find some helpful websites that allow you to search for apartments that are pet friendly, as well as some pet-freindly properties.

Here are some helpful guidelines to help you in your search for an apartment that allows pets:

  • Give yourself enough time! Start your search as soon as you know you need to move.
  • Don't answer ads that say "No pets."
  • Find a realtor who will search for pet friendly apartments for you.
  • Check all newspapers - local neighborhood shops as well as the big daily papers and internet resources.
  • Stay away from larger rental communities with no pet policies - it is harder for them to make exceptions - try individual home and condominium owners.

Finding an apartment that will accept your pet often depends on your ability to market yourself as a responsible pet owner. Here are some suggestions on how to put your and your pet's best paw forward.

  • Write a pet resume. Include information about the age of your pet, whether you spayed or neutered, personal hygiene and behavioral (training background, character traits)description of your pet and about you as a pet owner. Be sure to include your veterinarian's name and phone number along with other personal references.
  • Ask for a letter of recommendation from your veterinarian, former landlords, and neighbors to document that you are a responsible pet owner. 
  • If your dog has attended training classes - class certifications or proof of attendance may be beneficial.
  • Documentation that your pet is spayed/neutered, vaccinated against rabies, and up to date on veterinary care.
  • Offer to let your prospective landlord meet your pet and see your current apartment.
  • Offer to pay a reasonable pet-damage deposit or secure liability insurance to cover the cost of any pet-related damage.
  • Offer to accept a short term lease where your landlord can see if you and your pet are acceptable as long term tenants. Make sure you get in writing the terms of the short term lease and advance notification time requirements.
  • Offer to negotiate an addendum to the lease that indicates what the landlord expects of you and your animal.
  • Market yourself - pet owners are more likely to stay put since pet friendly housing is difficult to find. Let prospective landlords know that you understand their concerns and agree that living with a pet is not a right but a privilege that you take very seriously.

Working with Housing Management on a Pets-Allowed Policy

Download our Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership -- an model agreement between management and tenants about responsible pet ownership.