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Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Real Pet Peeve

A Real Pet Peeve

My 90-pound lab--the archenemy of many a local landlord.

For the past several months, I’ve been casually looking for a new place to call home. On paper, I’m the perfect tenant: A quiet, non-partying, mature adult with a steady paycheck. Finding my dream rental should be a walk in the park, right? It might be, except for one not-so-small detail: My 90-pound chocolate lab.

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 percent of Oahu households have pets. For every 15 listings I peruse, 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). After seeing the SORRY, NO PETS tag line a few too many times, I started looking beyond the classifieds, and found a few helpful resources.

The Hawaiian Humane Society’s Pets in Housing program ( strives to connect pet-loving landlords with Oahu pet owners. While the program’s Web site currently offers only a small handful of rentals (hopefully more landlords will catch on), there’s also a wealth of useful information, including pet health forms and tips for working with landlords. A second option is Pets OK (, a local service that tracks down rental listings from online sources, property management firms and homeowners and assembles them into a consolidated list, which is e-mailed to clients daily. While it isn’t free—a one-month subscription is $70—it could spare you the hair-pulling frustration.

Here are a few additional pointers to help you with your search:
• 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.
• Here’s something to keep in mind: As noted in the Hawaii Residential Landlord-Tenant Code handbook, the “total amount of deposits cannot exceed one month’s rent,” meaning that landlords cannot require an additional pet deposit on top of a security deposit already equal to one month’s rent.

Posted on Thursday, September 2, 2010 in Permalink

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About This Page

Honolulu Real Estate focuses on the Hawaii housing market, condos and homes for sale, Hawaii rentals and general news about real estate in Hawaii. It also includes stories on apartment living, home decor and profiles.

Melissa Chang graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in journalism and has been blogging since 2007, mostly on food and travel. She works primarily in social media, so you can find her online @Melissa808 on Twitter and Instagram.


Jaymes Song is a real estate agent at Prudential Advantage Realty in Kahala. Jaymes is in the top 7 percent of Prudential agents nationwide. Previously, Jaymes was at The Orange County Register, Honolulu Star-Bulletin and rose through the ranks to overseeing news and operations for AP in Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. Jaymes lives in the Portlock area and loves his real full-time job of being dad to two curious kids.

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