A Tenant's Guide to Being a Responsible Pet Owner "Responsible pet ownership": Landlords should look for it - Prospective tenants should demonstrate it. But what is it? The following offers suggestions that might clarify how pet owners can become responsible pet owners and responsible tenants. How to be a Responsible Pet Owner • Have references from former landlords and neighbours’, obedience instructors and veterinarians that attest to your ability to take care of the pet • Provide a portfolio of your pets vaccinations, licensing, veterinary visits, and obedience school diplomas • Make sure your pet is spayed or neutered and have proof • Encourage your potential landlord to meet your well groomed, well behaved pet • Offer to pay an additional pet deposit and to cover any damages resulting from your pet's actions • Invite a landlord to check on your pet after move-in to ensure that your animal is adjusting well to its new home • Always plan ahead to ensure your pet is taken care of during vacations • Emphasize that you will always clean up after your pet • Offer to sign a pet agreement with the landlord • Don't let your pet wander the streets of the neighbourhood Tenant FAQ's Q. Who makes the decision to allow pets in rental housing? A. Permission to keep a pet is granted at the landlord’s sole discretion and is subject to the tenant strictly adhering to all aspects of the pet policy. A tenant who wishes to keep a pet will first need to obtain the landlord’s approval and sign a pet agreement. Q. How can I get a landlord to say yes to rent to me and my pet? A. Some tools to give you a better chance of securing pet-friendly housing include preparing a pet resume with references, certificates of completion for obedience training classes, health certificates and photos, and having a well-groomed, well-mannered pet, present with you during the rental interview. Having veterinary medical insurance also puts you ahead of the pack. Some companies, like Vet insurance (www.vetinsurance.com) provide enrolled clients with coverage of damage caused by their pets, and a form letter to demonstrate to landlords a tenant is a responsible pet guardian. Q. Can a landlord ask for a pet damage deposit? A. Yes, a landlord may require a pet damage deposit when the tenant has a pet at the start of tenancy, or later when the tenant acquires a pet. Q. What is the purpose of a pet damage deposit? A. Pet damage deposits are generally treated the same as security deposits, and are used to repair any damage caused by a pet at the end of a tenancy. A landlord is not allowed to automatically keep all or part of the deposit at the end of the tenancy. Q. How much can a landlord charge for a pet damage deposit? A. A landlord may want to charge pet fees. According to the Voluntary Code of Practice for the Alberta Residential Tenancies Act landlords may refer to these deposits as additional fees or charges. While these are not against the law, if they are refundable to the tenant they are added to the security deposit amount. The grand total of all of the charges cannot exceed the amount of the first month's rent. Q. What if the tenancy agreement is silent on pets? A. If a tenancy agreement does not address pets, then the landlord cannot require a pet damage deposit. Q. How often during tenancy can a landlord inspect a pet-friendly unit? A. During tenancy, a landlord can inspect a suite once a month in order to assess the condition of the unit. Q. Can landlords restrict the size, kind or number of pets? A. Yes, this should be outlined in the pet policy and will vary by landlord. Q. Where can I find a list of pet-friendly accommodation in Calgary? A. www.petsandapartments.com or www.calgaryhumane.ca (pending database for 2009).