Putting in the effort to draft a pet resume may help you score an apartment [Photo: Shutterstock]
What can you do when you fall in love with a rental that doesn't allow pets, or has breed and size restrictions? You need to show your potential landlord that you're a responsible and mature pet owner, and that your furry friend is well-trained and healthy. The best way to do it is by drafting up a pet resume.
It may sound ridiculous, but a pet resume shows your future landlord that you take pet ownership seriously, and helps alleviate concerns about pet behavior and health. Treat it like you would your own resume for a job application - you're pimping out your pet's best qualities, even if it means fudging things a little bit. This is mostly applicable to dogs, but can certainly help securing a place for your cat too. The SPCA has some samples, but here's what every pet resume should include:
1. Photo: Start off with the most adorable photo you can find. Bonus points if it's at a dog park or outside, since landlords will worry about pets being cooped up indoors causing trouble. Double bonus points if your pet is being cuddled by a small child - look how sweet and docile they are!
2. Description: Describe your pet's age, breed, and temperament. Mention if you've lived with it in an apartment before. If you pet is a breed that may be restricted, here's where you can fudge things a little by saying it's a mixed-breed. Unless you paid a boat load of cash for a pure-breed anyway, it's probably not far from the truth.
3. Training: Here's the part to talk about whether you've ever taken your pet to any formal animal training. Definitely include if they are house-broken and respond to voice commands. If they haven't had any training, the SPCA and many pet stores offer their own training classes - mention that you've signed up for one of those.
4. Activities: Describe what your pet's schedule is like - how often you take them out to the bathroom, take them to play outside, or on walks. Landlords want to know that your pet isn't going to be running around and making noise all day when you're not home, so make it clear that they get lots of exercise. This is also a great time to mention if you have a dog walker and how often they come by.
5. Health/Grooming: Let your landlord know that your pet is up-to-date on all their shots and vaccinations, whether they're spayed or neutered, and if they are on flea medication. It doesn't hurt to throw in your vet's name, just to show what a good pet parent you are.
6. References: Just like a real resume, include references from past landlords that knew your pet. Provide phone numbers and toss in a couple lines about how they never had any problem with damage or noise. If you can get an old neighbor to be reference too, just to show that your pet isn't a nuisance, even better.
7. About me: Here's where you can really lay it on thick. Talk about how important your pet is and that they're a part of your family. Volunteer to add extra rugs to protect hardwood floors and assure that your pet will be left with someone else when you're out of town. If you have renter's insurance that covers pet damage, definitely mention that. Tug at their heartstrings, and they'll have a hard time saying no.
If possible, bring your pet along when you view the apartment for the landlord to meet them. Forcing your landlord to see how sweet and loveable your pet is will help with concerns about aggression. A tip though - if you have a super high-energy dog, take them for a long walk or play session in the park first so they'll be tired and mellow, or else this could backfire big time!
* This post originally appeared on Curbed SF for Renters Week 2012.