There is a war being fought in Massachusetts real estate and that war is the war on dogs and cats. I’m currently working with a couple and their Golden Retriever named Olaf. They’ve been transplanted from California to Salem for work. They’re teachers. They want to live in Salem but they’d also consider the surrounding towns of Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Marblehead, Peabody and Swampscott. The search results, as you can see, show a lot of promising properties but the vast majority of those owners will not allow pets. Period.
This is just one anecdote in my fifteen years of dealing with landlords, tenants and buyers buying in condominium complexes. Dealing with condominium buyers or prospective tenants that own pets can be a challenge because so many roads lead to dead ends. I have to search, whittle down and sometimes even beg in order to help people like Olaf and his humans find a place to live. It’s not easy and it sometimes decreases my willingness to work with these types of buyers. I’m human, right? But then you see Olaf…
I’d like to offer some advice for tenants and buyers buying in condominium complexes:
- Don’t buy a Pit Bull or anything resembling a Pit Bull. Just don’t.
- Don’t own more than two cats. Crazy cat ladies are real and landlords look at them funny.
- Don’t own exotic pets like ferrets or raccoons or pigs. Landlords won’t know what to do.
- Do send pictures of your dog being cute to the real estate agent or owner. Do that first.
- Do bring your dogs with you to your showings. Even if you have to leave your dog in the car.
- Birds, snakes and spiders may be okay. Refer to refer to crazy cat lady.
I’d like to offer some advice for landlords and condominium associations:
- Always allow up to two cats in a unit. Be vigilant by stating that in the lease or by laws.
- Always ask for the pets’ names. It helps when you’re pounding on the door.
- Always allow dogs under twenty-five pounds. It won’t be Cujo.
- Always ask the previous landlord about the pet. Was that pet clean and quiet?
- Always meet the pet. You may miss out on a great tenant if you don’t allow pets.
- Please be open minded. Pets make tenants happy and you want a happy tenant.
The front lines on the war on cats and dogs is the real estate agent and too many of them, in their zeal to please their landlords or their sheer laziness, act like crypt keepers. I had a real estate agent this morning, after she had listed her unit in Pinergy, the local MLS, as “Yes w/ Restrictions – Pets Negotiable” deny Olaf because “the owner has chosen not consider having occupants with size dog of your prospective tenants.” I don’t think that size should matter when you take one look at a picture of Olaf which she didn’t. So I’m pleading to real estate agents to have real conversations about pets with their landlords. I know that it’s sometimes a tough conversation, and you never want to be blamed for any damage down the road, but you have a sober conversation with your landlords and maybe you’ll find your landlord a great tenant.
By the way, I’m actively trying to help Olaf and his humans so please let me know if you have an apartment priced under $2,000 in Salem, preferably, or the Salem area that would accept cute dogs like Olaf. Thanks.