04/27/2016 03:36 EDT | Updated 04/28/2017 05:12 EDT

How To Disaster-Proof Your Rental Against Kids, Pets And More

MichalRenee via Getty Images
A black mixed-breed dog caught with the remains of a decorative cusion. Her eyes are actually asking for forgiveness, since (sadly) this is not a posed picture but a real life incident.

Written by Jackie Marchildon

If you're looking for a housing option that requires little maintenance, renting is often the way to go. But depending on your lease and provincial laws, you could end up in a heap of trouble if your dog destroys your carpeted stairs or your teenager drives through the fence.

Sometimes preventing damage is easy, but there are a few circumstances that have less obvious preventative measures. Here's how to avoid a few overlooked problems that could cause harm to your rental unit.

How to family-proof a rental

Toddlers always manage to get into something they shouldn't -- makeup, peanut butter, paint. Kids are basically little peace disturbers. I once put an entire container of Vaseline into my hair. If you are renting with a toddler, the basic safety latches and locks on cabinets, drawers and toilets are good, but here's a couple more ways to avoid disaster with toddlers and their older siblings.


Put doorknob covers on bathroom doors

If the door stays closed, toddlers (and pets) can't get into anything hidden away in the bathroom -- including, but not limited to, toilet water, makeup, powders, creams and garbage.

Cover floor vents with tulle

Let's all admit we've thrown something down the vent at some point in our lives. My sister admits she threw her nail polish down one. Avoid serious damage by covering your vents with tulle. By doing so air can still get by, but trinkets cannot.

Install shut-off valves on faucets and shower heads



While this is actually intended to promote water conservation, shut-off valves that can be placed on faucets and shower heads also limit flood opportunities because the water cannot be left running.

Buy a door stop and wall protector

In my childhood home we used to ram our front door into the wall behind it all the time. I swear it felt like we made a doorknob-shaped hole in that wall every week. Buy a strong doorstop that can withstand a family of five busting into the house, and place a wall protector on the wall for when the doorstop fails.

How to dog-proof your rental

I love dogs, but it's true that they can cause a mess and literally destroy homes. Here's how to make sure your landlord doesn't regret their decision to be pet friendly.

destroyed door_dog

Photo via Pinterest

Gates and crates

If your pup seems to want to eat everything, make no mistake, he will eat the stairs and the walls. Crate training will not only protect your rental unit, but it will help with separation anxiety. Baby gates on stairs or across entrances is another way to protect your unit as it ensures your pup only goes where you want him to.

Don't buy one of those mesh crates if you have a spirited dog. My friend's dog chewed through hers, took down the Christmas tree and chewed up a can of WD40 (at his boyfriend's mom's house).

How to frat-proof a rental

If you're renting somewhere where bed bugs and cockroaches are a concern, there are a few easy things you can do to prevent those unwanted visitors.


Seal gaps around windows and doors

Buy some caulking and seal up holes anywhere you think bugs might be able to crawl in. Cockroaches are attracted to filth, so if you have dirty neighbours, you could be at risk even if your place is clean.

Buy bedding encasements

Buying a mattress and box spring protector won't stop bugs from entering your home, but it will make it easier to deal with them should they find their way in.

Spilled flour, coloured-on walls and noise complaints are bad-at-the-time events that become funny stories down the road, but flooded floors, torn-up stairs and poor credit are things that will haunt your renting future. Know how to help yourself and take a few precautions to make sure your home is protected against rental disasters.

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