Having a pet is a wonderful, rewarding experience. But having a pet, especially a young one, can often wreck your chances of getting a deposit back. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent your pet from damaging your rental.
Know Your Lease
Be sure you have carefully read your lease and know what restrictions there are on pets in the home. Certain breeds, sizes and number of pets are often not allowed. If you get a pet outside what your management allows, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re having to choose your pet or your home.
Also be aware of what damages your landlord expects you to cover. Will they be using a blacklight to check carpets? How new is the carpet? Are blinds replaced after every tenant, regardless of damage? These are questions whose answers can be very important to whether or not you get a deposit back.
Before you get a cat or dog, you should ensure your home is going to be a safe space for them. Keep all cords out of their reach. Check all plants in your home for toxicity. Many common plants are toxic to cats and dogs, some fatally. Remove any bug or mouse traps or poison you may have. Keep small items such as pens, buttons, paperclips, etc. put away. These items are often tempting but can result in choking or intestinal blockages. The same is true with small items of clothing. Many dogs, especially, will chew and sometimes swallow socks or undergarments. Make sure your yard is safe; check any weed killer or fertilizer you have used recently for animal toxicity.
Know Your Pet
If you’ve just cleared getting a pet with your landlord, congrats! Getting a new pet is always exciting. But you need to be careful. You don’t know the pet’s personality yet, and until you get to know them better, it’s a good idea to keep them contained, either in a kennel or locked in a tiled room with fresh food and water, while you’re gone. You wouldn’t want to get home from work to find that your new puppy had chewed a hole in your carpet.
For cats, be wary of their claws. Provide plenty of scratching posts and exercise so they’re not tempted to scratch furniture or carpets. If you find that your cat is scratching where they shouldn’t, invest in some claw caps. These inexpensive plastic caps are harmless to your cats but prevent them from damaging anything in your home. Be aware of where you have blinds. Cats are notorious for destroying blinds, and if you have to replace them the charges can add up fast. If your cat is interested, it may be better to keep you blinds fully raised, and instead hang curtains for privacy and sun block.
For dogs, be sure the breed you get fits your lifestyle. If you rarely have time for long walks or hikes, a high energy dog with demanding exercise needs may not be for you. Until they are fully house trained, be sure to give them frequent potty breaks so they don’t soil your carpets. Provide plenty of bones and chew toys to keep them from chewing items they shouldn’t. Training and exercise will help keep them mentally stimulated, which will help prevent them from chewing out of boredom.