Finding a rental home that accepts pets—especially big dogs—is hard enough, but then you have the added challenge of getting your full security deposit back. While you love your dog no matter what, they may not be the cleanest or least destructive being on the planet.
But if you choose to rent, don’t let thoughts of missing out on your security deposit hold you back from having a pet. The Humane Society reports that 72% of renters are also pet owners, and it’s completely possible to be both a good renter and a good dog owner. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that when you and your dog move out, it looks as good as the day you moved in.
#1 – Before You Move In
Before you collect your keys and move your stuff, take a tour of your new digs (preferably with your landlord), and write down everything that could be considered damage. When the time comes for you to move out, the last thing you want is to have your dog blamed for something that wasn’t their fault. Be detailed with your list and include everything from frayed carpets to chipped paint.
#2 – Clean Regularly
Even well-trained dogs have the occasional mishap, but you don’t need to let it affect your security deposit. Clean up stains as soon as they happen to keep them from being permanent. It’s also a good idea to commit to general housecleaning on a regular basis. Vacuum, dust, and do everything you can to keep pet smells at bay—that includes giving your dog regular baths.
#3 – Exercise Your Pup
A bored dog will always be a destructive dog. They may start with your couch cushions, but determined chewers will soon move on to more permanent kinds of destruction. Dogs have been known to chew through walls, doors, and kitchen cabinets. Curb your dog’s appetite for destructive behavior by engaging in at least one hour of physical activity a day. Going on a walk or playing in the backyard takes a few minutes and could save you hundreds of dollars.
#4 – Be Proactive
If you know your dog is a destructive chewer but you plan on being away from home for several hours, be proactive about preventing damage. Arrange for someone to dog-sit or commit to crate training and keep your dog safely contained while you’re away. Your best defense is knowing your dog’s behavior and personality. If your new puppy isn’t quite housebroken yet, keep them off the carpet until they have full control of their bladder. If your dog likes to jump up and look out the window, keep the blinds tucked safely away.
# 5 – Prepare to Move Out
When your lease is up and it’s time to move on, inspect your home for possible pet-related problems. Some rental companies require pet owners to hire professional carpet cleaners before they move out. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s always a good idea. Every dog owner learns to live life covered in fur, but the next renters won’t be happy to find Fido’s hair ingrained in the carpet six months after he’s moved out. Steam cleaning the carpets, spackling damaged walls, adding fresh paint, and reseeding the yard are all simple things you can do to safeguard your security deposit.
Your dog is a part of the family, and home wouldn’t be the same without them. Owning a dog isn’t always easy, and it’s never cheap, but it’s always worth it. Taking these extra steps to protect your security deposit will keep both your landlord and your pet happy with your rental home.