I often times receive calls inquiring about rentals from folks that aren’t quite ready to purchase a home.  Here’s some great info on renting in Central Florida from my guest blogger, Melisa.  Melisa is a Local Apartment Expert at 407apartments, an Orlando apartment search that helps renters find an apartment that meets their lifestyle and budget.

Owning a home brings you the freedom of choice. You can decorate your home as you please or vacuum at 11 p.m. and not think about any repercussions from a landlord or downstairs neighbors. These may be the little things that bring you joy in your home – but there are also big things, like being able to live freely with your favorite furry best friends/family members. The truth is that many pet owners aren’t yet ready to purchase a home, so they choose to rent an apartment for first. The unfortunate truth is that they don’t always have this freedom of choice.

Approximately 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States, according to the ASPCA. With the steady rise in renters, it is safe to say that a large number of pets are moving and adjusting to living in apartments with their owners.

Apartments are a wonderful living choice for many reasons, but many renters neglect to do their research at having their pets in their apartment at an appropriate time. You’d never buy a house without finding out everything about it first, so why is that oftentimes, renters sign a lease before realizing that their pet was restricted or adopt an animal without knowing their current community’s policy? For this reason alone, many pets are unnecessarily surrendered or rehomed because the financial cost or risk of eviction become too great.

For pets, anxiety, stress, and heartbreak from the immense change can occur in these situations. A collaboration between the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and 407apartments.com has set out to prevent tragedies like this from happening. Just last year, over 1,800 pets were surrendered to the pet alliance alone due to a lack of renter knowledge on pet-friendly housing. The Pet Alliance Registered Apartment Partner Program was created to bring awareness to renters looking for a pet-friendly community. If you are searching for pet-friendly apartments in Orlando, your first step is to check out the list of Pet Alliance Registered Apartments.

Once you have done this, you’ll want to do your research on any communities you are considering. If you’re looking for a pet-friendly apartment, here are a few questions you should ask that will help you make the best choice in apartment living with pets:

 

What are your community’s pet policies?

You should learn about your future apartment community’s pet policies. Did you know that some apartments are more pet friendly than others? Your first and most important question should cover weight and breed restriction policies. Communities are bound to these restrictions by their insurance policies, so this is not something that can be overlooked. You may also inquire about a limit on the number of pets you can have.

Another policy to consider is pet fees. Usually, there is a fixed pet deposit per pet and a small monthly fee (think of it as pet rent). These fees cover additional maintenance your apartment may need to cover any damages, especially once you move out. If the initial deposit is refundable, you’ll want to make sure that you do your best to keep the apartment tidy. Invest in a good vacuum, have cleaning supplies on hand, make sure your pets are properly trained and always keep an eye on them.

Knowing the policies at your community ensures that there are no surprises coming your way. Some renters choose to ignore policies and keep pets in their apartment secretly – this is a major concern for many reasons including health, legal, etc. and puts them at risk of eviction – or worse. Stay on the honest path.

 

Will my pet be comfortable here?

Moving to a new location can be stressful. When researching your apartment, consider things like the size of the apartment and amount of storage space. Does your pet have enough room to live comfortably? Will you have a space that can just be “theirs”? Even if you are in a smaller space, spending some time planning where a bed, toys, food/water bowl will go will help give your pet some consistency during the move.

 

What amenities do you offer for pet owners?

Something often overlooked when renters search for apartments are pet amenities. When you take a tour, be sure to ask questions. Observe your surroundings to gauge how other pet owners view their community. Are owners walking or playing with their pets around the community? This is a good sign that the community is pleasant and welcoming to both pets and owners.

You will definitely want to know about popular “human” amenities at a community like the gym and pool, but don’t forget to also ask about what your pet can enjoy in his or her new home. Many apartments have installed dog parks and many the new apartments are being built with this highly sought-after pet friendly amenity. Some dog parks even offer pet wash stations nearby, with a platform, collar anchor, and hose so that you can give your dog a bath after exploring the park.

As you’re touring a potential apartment, you’ll want to keep an eye out for pet cleanup stations throughout the community. Check the spacing between the cleanup stations, see if they are stocked with doggie bags, and take note of whether the receptacles are clean and have been recently emptied.

 

Can we live here happily?

The most important thing is that you are able to give your pet a happy, healthy, forever home. Living with a pet in an apartment, there are definitely things you’ll need to consider to ensure that your pets are getting the proper exercise, healthcare, and quality of life. For example, you generally can’t let your pets play in a big, open backyard in an apartment, so you’ll need to actively ensure they get stimulation, whether it’s from walks around the block or spending time at a dog park.

The bottom line: No matter which pet-friendly apartment community you choose, make sure that you’ve done all of your research and that your new home will be the perfect fit for both you and your pets – for the long haul!