Paws and property: Survey says more than 829k pets live illegally in rented homes across California

Having a pet and renting a property poses challenges. Landlords are often reluctant to allow them – barking, shredded cushions, scratched furniture being some of the reasons. But figures show that 86 million households own a pet — and also that one-in-three of them rent. Ergo, this must mean that there are a lot of renters out there who live with their pet in someone else’s property — but how many of them have actually declared them to their landlord? wanted to find out and surveyed 3,000 pet owning tenants. They first discovered that 18 percent of them had kept the existence of Buddy quiet — equating to about 7.7 million pets across the country. That’s a lot of barking to try and cough over or scratched table legs to try and cover up. In California, 15 percent of pet-owning renters admit to not disclosing this to their landlords (equating to 829,235 illegal pets). The guiltiest pet owners are in Vermont, with the percentage of households hiding illegal pets reaching 50 percent, or 36,791 furry friends. The most law-abiding pet-owning renters live in Indiana, where the figure is just 4 percent, or 32,400 pets.

Rental Ruff
Renters have it tough enough as it is, with landlords always having the upper hand in the situation, so it seems a shame that pets are often not made to feel welcome in a rented property. However, given the choice, the survey found that 82 percent of pet owners would be willing to pay an additional fee to keep their furry friend in the rental property with them – the extra cost could quite easily be used to make any repairs to anything that was damaged.

And when it comes to how much people would be willing to pay on top of their rent, the average amount was $375.69.

Tenant Tails
Not all neighbors would be put off by the fact someone next door had a pet, either; also asked hypothetically whether, “if your property renewal was coming up and someone new was moving in with a dog, would you consider finding somewhere else to live?” Only 26 percent said yes, suggesting that the vast majority of Californians are actually pet-friendly.

The research also revealed two thirds thought it was fair for landlords to ask tenants to leave the property if it turned out they had pets which were not permitted. But sadly, the challenge of finding a rental property which allows pets discourages 58 percemt of people from getting a pet if they are renters.

“Caring for a pet is a responsibility that requires commitment and dedication, yet the current rental market often makes it challenging for pet owners to find suitable and affordable accommodations. Discriminatory pet policies and limited pet-friendly options not only place an undue burden on renters, but also deny them the joy and companionship that pets bring to their lives” says Chris Heller of have provided four tips for convincing your landlord to allow you to have a pet in your rental.

Talk to your landlord
Getting permission to have a pet as a renter can be difficult as landlords may include a “No Pets” clause in the lease to maintain control over how many pets are in their properties. However, if you have a good relationship with your landlord and are a responsible tenant, you may be able to persuade them to allow a pet. Providing documentation on your prospective pet’s health history and training plans can strengthen your case. Many landlords will make exceptions for excellent tenants who are positive contributors to the rental community.

Be flexible
To convince your landlord to allow a pet in your rental, it’s important to be flexible with your pet choices. Many landlords have restrictions on the type or size of pets allowed due to noise or potential damage. If your landlord approves a pet with certain restrictions, consider being more selective in your choice of pet. However, if you have a good relationship with your landlord, it’s possible they may make exceptions for a responsible and reliable tenant. So don’t be afraid to have a conversation about the possibility of bringing in a larger pet.

Providing documentation
If you’re a pet owner looking to move into a new rental property, providing additional documentation can help show your landlord that you’re a responsible pet owner. This may include a letter from your current landlord, vet records, training records, and spay/neuter records. By demonstrating that your pet is well-behaved and non-disruptive, you can alleviate any concerns your landlord may have about potential property damage or disturbance to other renters.

Offer to pay more
To convince your landlord to allow a pet, offering to pay extra in the form of a deposit or monthly charge can show that you are committed to being a responsible pet owner. While some pet-friendly rentals have upfront policies regarding deposits or rent surcharges, it’s possible to convince some landlords who don’t allow pets to make exceptions if you offer to pay extra. However, pet deposits can be expensive, so be sure to have the necessary budget before making the offer.