Friday, October 1, 2010

Finding a Rental with your Pet in Hawaii Kai

I'm often asked about rentals, both by folks relocating from the mainland and locals. Many people think all Realtors handle property management (very few do) and that if you are an experienced and knowledgeable Realtor in a specific community, like Hawaii Kai, you should be able to suggest rental resources (we should). Often people relocate here, rent for a year or two to learn the areas, and then buy a home. So being up-to-date on the rental market is an advantage both for me and for new residents.

Finding a rental you want and a property owner who wants you is complicated by having pets. I offer extensive information on my web site for Hawaii pet owners (For Pet Lovers), and the Hawaii Humane Society offers an online guide to all the pet-friendly condo complexes. In addition, here is a recent blog post in Honolulu Magazine's Real Estate Blog, by Jenny Quill, which offers excellent tips for renters with pets.

From someone who should know - Jenny has a dog - she states, "Honolulu is not a particularly pet-friendly place for would-be renters, which is odd given the fact that, according to the Hawaii Humane Society, more than 60% of Oahu households have pets. For every 15 [rental} listings, there’s only one that allows pets, and it’s either cost prohibitive or comes with a myriad of restrictions (size limit, breed limit, outside-pets only)."

Two web resources she suggest are
1. Hawaii Humane Society has a service to connect landlords with pet owners, its Pets in Housing Program
2. Pets OK is a local matchmaking fee-for service that looks for pet-friendly rentals and emails the homes to would-be renters

After her own frustrating search, she developed some proactive steps you can take to find a pet-friendly home to rent:
  • "Try contacting a property manager or realtor who may be able to point you in the right direction.

  • Demonstrate Fido’s or Fifi’s good temperament by obtaining references from previous landlords, neighbors or homeowners’ associations, as well as your pet’s trainer, day care or kennel.

  • Provide a certificate of health from your veterinarian that shows your pet is up to date on vaccinations and flea and tick prevention.

  • Put everything in writing. A verbal agreement that pets are allowed on the premises is not enough.

  • Offer to sign a pet addendum that states that you will be held responsible for any damage, pest infestation or injury to others. The Pets in Housing page has an easy-to-use template form.

  • Offer to allow the landlord to meet your pet, ideally in your current, sparkling-clean rental."

I hope this helps, and that you will consider buying a home in Hawaii Kai when you and your pet have experienced our lifestyle and decide our community is the place for both of you.

Barbara Abe, Realtor