Start looking ahead of time
Depending on where you live, the rules and timing for moving will vary. In parts of the world everything happens with a three month delay - everyone must give a three-month notice before leaving a rental - and in other parts of the world people look to move the next day.
Either way, planning ahead will help you. You might have to call many landlords before you find the right one that will welcome your pets. Be polite and persistent, and ask about pet policies.
Look at private rentals
Many apartment complexes have centrally mandated policies the on-site crew can't disregard no matter how much they want to. It might be easier to find an individual homeowner that will accept your pets. Check online listings and in newspaper, and tell your friends on social media that you're looking. In this day and age word of mouth is more powerful than ever.
Be prepared with your dog's papers
Some landlords want proof of vaccinations and regular vet visits. Any certifications and other documentation such as obedience classes, therapy dog classes, contests wins, or a Canine Good Citizen certification can also help sway potential landlords in your favor. References can also help, like a letter of reference from your current landlord.
Introduce your dog
When you go look at a rental you might get an opportunity to show pictures of your cute and well-groomed pets. If you feel a rapport with the landlord but they still seem on the fence about your pets, ask if you can introduce him or her to your furry friends in your home. That can be a good opportunity both to show how well behaved your pets are and how well you've taken care of your current home.
Get approval in writing
Once you get permission from your new landlord or property manager, make sure to get it in writing. Many make a pet addendum to the contract. Many rentals require a one-time pet fee and/or a small charge in addition to the rent every month. Make sure you know what's required before you move in.
Don't give up
It can be difficult to find a rental, but it's not impossible. Your pets are worth the extra effort. Many give their pets up to shelters because they have a hard time finding somewhere to live that will accept the dogs, but this is never a good solution. If you can't find a place on your own, ask for help. The local humane society might know of pet-friendly rentals. You can also ask your county government, they often have lists, or might know where you can turn with questions. Many real estate companies have rentals, and manage rentals for their clients. Give them a call. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no.
~ Maria Sadowski ~