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Finding rental housing with pets in the Bay Area can be tough. We can help.

Living in the Bay Area is expensive, competitive, and challenging — especially when you’re seeking a home for you and your furry (or feathered) friend. Many listings for rental properties simply state they do not allow any pets.

As a prospective tenant, one of the most powerful tools you have is to allow plenty of time for your search, and to be thoroughly prepared.

You’ll find that several rental websites will let you filter by pet-friendly options.

However, even if a listing mentions “no pets,” it’s well worth reaching out to a prospective landlord. You might find that certain types, sizes, or breeds of pets are welcome under specific conditions (i.e. housebroken, under a certain weight, etc.)  

Once you identify properties you’re interested in, present you and your pet(s) as responsible future tenants by following these tips:

While searching for rental housing

Prepare a comprehensive pet resume packet that includes:

  • A list of your pet’s references, i.e.:

    • Current and past landlords and neighbors 
    • Trainers 
    • Dog walkers & pet sitters 
  • Proof of current vaccines

  • Proof of spay/neuter, if applicable

  • Proof of your pet’s license, if applicable

  • A photo of your pet, well-lit and happily in the company of people.

  • A disaster plan which shows you’ve prepared a kit and a plan for your pet. Provide your landlord an emergency contact for matters relating to your pet in your absence.
  • A signed copy of Marin Humane’s Dog Guardian Pledge, if applicable.
  • A certificate which shows your dog has had training. For example, a Marin Humane dog training class like:

    • Family Dog 1
    • Canine Good Citizen

Once you’ve provided the above kit, consider arranging a meet & greet for your pet and the landlord at the residence you’re hoping to rent.

Even if not required, express your intention to have renter’s insurance that covers liability for property and personal injury. 

Be prepared to pay additional fees as part of having a pet in a rental, though you can always attempt to negotiate these based on the excellent pet guardianship you’ll have demonstrated above. These fees take the form of an additional payment at the beginning of the rental term and must be refundable under California law, notwithstanding amounts withheld for the actual cost of damage caused by your pet beyond reasonable wear and tear.

The Marin Humane Pet Safety Net program aims to keep pets healthy and with their guardians who love them, including assisting low-income people with funds for pet rental deposits which would be payable directly to a landlord or rental agency. This support is delivered on a funds-available basis. Please review our Pet Safety Net guidelines for more information about this program and how to apply.

When you find your rental housing

  • Verify written pet permission in your lease or rental agreement. Don’t sign a lease with just a “handshake” provision for your pet.
  • Know your pet deposit or security deposit amounts and terms.
  • Document the condition of your rental with photos before you move in.
    • If your pet does cause damage, document it and make sure reasonable amounts are deducted from your pet deposit, if you choose not to have the damage repaired yourself.

After you move in

  • Make sure your neighbors remain great allies.
    • Occasionally ask your neighbors if they hear any noise from your animal(s). It’s better to be proactive than to hear about a problem only after a neighbor is irritated and has possibly reported it to the landlord.
    • Use a security camera while you’re away that records time and date to see if complaints are legitimate while you’re away.
  • If you get a pet nuisance complaint or pet welfare concern inquiry:
    • Work directly with complaining neighbors to stop the problem if it’s legitimate.
    • Enlist neighbors to vouch for your pet.
    • Once the problem is solved, ask your neighbors to communicate that to the landlord.