If you’re a pet owner, it can be extremely difficult to find apartments that are accepting of your pets. There are few apartments that allow tenants to have a pet and even fewer allow multiple pets. Those that do welcome pets often require you to pay an exorbitant fee to cover the cost of your pet living with you, sometimes hundreds of dollars in additional rent. Searching for a pet-friendly apartment can be incredibly stressful, for you and your beloved pet. Here are some tips to make it easier to deal with that stress.

Give yourself time

When you know you’ll need to find a pet-friendly apartment, it’s important that you give yourself plenty of time to find an apartment. It’s going to take longer to find somewhere that accepts your pets, so you need to be ready to put time into your search. Do not expect to find an apartment for your pet when you’re planning on moving out in two weeks. Give yourself at least a month to put effort into the search.

Understand the rules

Many apartments that do allow pets have a certain amount of rules that go along with it. You’ll likely have to pay fees for your pet, so know what they are before signing a lease. You also might not be allowed to have more than one or two pets or pets over a certain size. Some apartment complexes ban specific breeds of dogs as well! Do your research to make sure your pet is welcome and adheres to all the rules.

Be honest

You might feel like it’s impossible to find a pet-friendly apartment within your price range, but it’s important that you’re honest and do not try to sneak your pet into your apartment. Be upfront with the landlord about having a pet and see if you can come to an agreement about having it in the apartment. Some landlords will make exceptions if you pay a pet fee or if they trust your pet isn’t a nuisance.

Advocate for your pet

A great idea for advocating for your pet is creating a kind of pet resume, where you include their picture, information about training, and proof that they’re up to date with medical check ups and shots. Offer to have your landlord meet your pet and interact with them. If you present your pet (and yourself) in the best way possible, it’s more likely that you’ll find an apartment willing to make an agreement with you for keeping your pet in your apartment.

Ask for help

If you’re having a seriously hard time finding an apartment, do not be shy about asking for help. Contact your local ASPCA or Humane Society and ask if they have suggestions for pet-friendly housing. Check sites and forums for posts about pet-friendly apartments and ask around to see if the locals know any apartments where you could live with your pet.