Moving to the S.F. Bay Area with a dog or cat? Tips on how to make your rental app stand out for a pet-friendly rental

Moving to the S.F. Bay Area with a dog or cat?  Tips on how to make your rental app stand out for a pet-friendly rental


Planning a move to San Francisco or surrounding regions & you have a dog?  Here are a few tips to help your rental application stand out from your competition.  (Side note:  typically it’s easier to find cat friendly rentals, so this post is more geared to dog owners but will be helpful for cat owners as well)

If possible, bring your pup to the showing (you may want to confirm in advance what the owner/showing agent prefers).  I like to meet dogs in person & again ideally at a  park to confirm he/she is socialized especially if the rental is in close proximity to other dog owners coming & going (on leash) in the common areas.

Sometimes meeting in person is not possible especially when one is moving from another state.  In those situations, I ask potential applicants to email me photos, pet references & a dog resume.

In general, your app will stand out if you can provide the above, including details on your dog’s exercise schedule &  if you will be hiring a dog walker if you don’t work from home & are away for more than ~6 hours.  A tired dog is a happy dog which I know from personal experience as a 2 dog owner as well as from owning pet-friendly rentals since 1997.

There is the mis-conception that large dogs can be more problematic & higher demand then small dogs.  Large dogs actually sleep more & need less exercise than small dogs (depending on the breed).  It’s always unfortunate to see condos & rentals that have size restrictions.

I do understand breed restrictions, typically those dogs that tend have the reputation of being more aggressive since some insurance policies won’t insure properties with specific breeds & there can be more liability/risk for a property owner & other residents.

If you are a property owner considering going pet-friendly, I’m happy to talk offline about best practices.  In my 14 years of renting dog-friendly rentals I’ve never had to deduct from security deposits for pet damage but I also have systems in place that work really well.

With any dog moving to a new home, it’s quite typical for he/she to be nervous/stressed with the change which can result in temporary nervous barking as Fido gets used to new surroundings, sounds, etc.  This is normal & to be expected; I always let existing renters know when a new dog is moving in so they are prepared for this temporary nervous barking.

Some non-pet friendly rentals may be open to renting to a dog owner with the offer of a larger security deposit.  I personally indicate that the entire security deposit in the lease docs can be applicable for either pet or human damage.

Craigslist is usually the best place to locate S.F. Bay Area rentals; the SPCA website also has a list of pet-friendly buildings & sample pet resumes.

You can always check in with me to see if I have any vacancies or new rental listings coming up.

If you have tips to share please pass along.

Best wishes in the move!


Posted by:

Cheryl Bower, Realtor CRS, GRI, ABR, ePro
Cell/Text: 415.999.3450
DRE #: 01505551
Zephyr Real Estate

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About Cheryl Bower

Cheryl is a S.F. native & 17 year property investor/renovator, specializing in S.F. real estate including residential sales & leasing.

She represents sellers, first time buyers, move up buyers, investors, & landlords in San Francisco, San Mateo County & beyond.

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