As Napa Valley real estate agents, we get asked a lot of questions that aren’t necessarily about buying into the wine country real estate market. Sometimes, people want to rent in the area before deciding which neighborhood is the right fit for them. Many of them have pets and are concerned a landlord won’t accept them. Fortunately, with some planning and a few compromises, you can find animal-friendly housing in virtually any corner of the Napa Valley.
Here are some of our favorite tips for finding housing where your four-legged family member is welcome.
Most property managers tend to allow smaller, confined pets like fish and birds, but many are stricter about larger animals like dogs and cats. Landlords who do allow pets have provisions called “pet policies” written into their lease. Before you sign a rental agreement, carefully review the pet policy so you’re clear on whether yours can live with you in your rental.
Typical rental agreement pet provisions include:
Types of pets allowed
Number of pets permitted
Pet deposit and additional rent
Spaying and neutering requirements
In California, as in most states, landlords and property managers are legally restricted from prohibiting services animals from living in a rental. They also can’t charge a pet deposit or pet rent or limit the size, weight, breed, or species. Remember that emotional support animals are not considered service animals, though many property managers will still make an exception for them.
When you’re ready to start your search for a pet-friendly rental, keep these tips in mind:
Understand why many rental properties reject pets. Unfortunately, many landlords, property owners, or homeowner associations have had bad experiences with irresponsible renters with pets. Or they may be worried about your neighbors complaining about a barking dog. These concerns are legitimate. It’s up to you to sell yourself as a responsible pet owner committed to being a good neighbor.
Give yourself plenty of time. If possible, begin your search at least six weeks before you plan to move. Be sure to talk to local real estate agents and check online rental property listings.
Be willing to pay a little extra. Even if it isn’t included as a pet provision, offer to pay an extra security deposit to cover any potential damage your pet might cause.
Lastly, the California Tenants Guide recommends making sure your rental contract expressly states what you must do in exchange for having your pet live in the property. Avoid verbal agreements and ask the property manager to draft a pet addendum that voids any no-pets clause.
While you might pay a little more to have your pet live in your rental, the joy they bring is well worth it. We hope these tips make the process a bit simpler and less stressful! And when you’re ready to invest in the wine country real estate market, we’re here to help you find the perfect home for your family and needs. Just contact us online or call us at 707.967.9570 to schedule a consultation!