We all know how valuable a good resumé is in a tight job market, but it turns out humans aren't the only ones who might need a detailed CV in Toronto these days. In the city's fierce rental market, pets might need one, too.
Monika Nazair was having a hard time finding a place to rent downtown, mainly because landlords weren't willing to accept Alba, her miniature Goldendoodle.
Nazair, an audiologist who works for a hearing-aid manufacturer located in Mississauga, says the application forms for the apartments she was looking at didn't have enough questions about pets.
"I found that ... it wasn't very detailed. I didn't find I could give enough information to give them any reason why they would be OK with having a dog, Basically, it was just asking for the name, age sex, weight and breed," she told CBC Toronto in a telephone interview on Monday.
"I didn't find I had enough material to sell Alba."
So Nazair thought of a different approach: a pet resume.
"I have a picture of her, and I do have her name, her age, sex, and weight and breed." But Alba's resume also paints a picture of her personality.
"Very calm, very docile, doesn't really bark, not aggressive or destructive. Just an easy-going pup."
And landlords didn't have to take Nazair's word for it. She even offers something that will be familiar to human resumé owners: references.
"The references that I've listed were her previous vet when we lived in Ottawa, her current one, and the daycare and boarding facility that she occasionally attends here."
It's increasingly common for landlords in Toronto to demand references, not only for prospective tenants but also for their pets, according to real estate broker Conrad Rygier.
"They will ask for some background information — sometimes even [from] a previous landlord who knew about the pet," he told CBC Toronto. Rygier says landlords mostly want to find out if an animal belonging to a prospective tenant "caused any damage to previous properties or a noise complaint."
Landlords can afford to be choosy about tenants and their pets, Rygier says, because Toronto's vacancy rate is so low.
"The rental market is super hot, and landlords really have, often, a pick of a number of tenants."
Rygier says having a pet may only add to the difficulty of convincing a landlord you are the perfect tenant for them.
"If they are really weighing on a particular tenant, maybe they have great credit and employment, but on their end maybe they see a pet as being a negative."
'She's a better tenant than most humans would be'
So just how effective was Nazair's pet resumé in opening doors for Alba?
Well, Nazair says sent the resume to several landlords, including ones who specifically stated "No Pets" in their ads. She says it was an instant hit and she suddenly had several offers to choose from.
Nazair recently signed a rental agreement for a downtown condo and says she's moving in next month. She says it was one of the apartments that originally was not willing to accept pets.
"I think they saw that I took the time to put some effort into it. And once they read up on her, I mean, she's a better tenant than most humans would be."