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7 Tips for Finding a Pet-Friendly Apartment

By: Andrew Woo
June 23, 2021

If you have a furry family member, it can be challenging to find the perfect apartment where you can all live. Today, we're here to help you understand how to find a pet-friendly apartment.

1. Read Up on Pet Restrictions and Local Regulations

Every landlord has a different pet policy, but most have one or more of the following rules for renting with pets. Below are a few of the common restrictions you'll see.

Limit on the Number of Pets

Most apartment buildings limit residents to a total of 1 or 2 pets.

Weight Restrictions

Some apartments do not allow (or may charge additional fees for) dogs over 55 lbs.

Aggressive Dog Breeds

Many landlords will not allow residents to bring dog breeds that are deemed “aggressive”. There’s no set list, and breed restrictions can vary from complex to complex.

Below is a typical aggressive dog breeds list for apartments.

  • Pit Bulls
  • Dobermans
  • Rottweillers
  • German Shepherds
  • Great Danes
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Terriers

This list may vary, but these are a few of the commonly restricted breeds. While your pet may be harmless, most landlords (and insurance companies) find these breeds to be risky tenants!

2. Offer to pay pet fees and pet deposit

In our experience, almost all apartments require tenants to pay a premium for bringing your canine or feline friend along. Some states and cities place limits on these fees, so you may want to research local regulations if your landlord requires payments that are astronomically high.

You'll typically see these three types of costs associated with renting with pets:

Pet Fees

This is a one-time cost you'll pay when moving in with your pet. Unlike a pet deposit, this is nonrefundable.

Pet Deposits

A refundable deposit that you’ll get back after your lease ends unless there damage caused by your pet. 40% of apartments that are pet-friendly require a deposit. The average pet deposit is $287.

Pet Rent

An extra $25-$100 may be added to your monthly rent if you are renting with a pet.

3. See if you Qualify for a Service Animal

Note that people with disabilities have a right to have service or emotional support pets, even if the leasing agreement specifically prohibits pets. You do not have to disclose your disability to the landlord. Additionally, service animals are not subject to pet fees.

4. Build a Pet Resume

The list of fees and restrictions can be daunting. However, many landlords and property managers can be flexible with policies if you can show that you and your pet are responsible tenants.

If you want to find a pet-friendly apartment, make sure to prepare a pet resume ahead of time. Yes, we know it sounds a bit strange. Just consider a pet resume as a way to showcase your pet. It can also help make the screening process go faster.

Include the Following Information in your Pet Resume:

  • Photo
  • A description of your pet including name, breed, and weight.
  • Previous health records showing proof of vaccinations
  • Any training certifications.

The American Kennel Club provides a good example of what your pet resume should look like and include. A letter of recommendation from previous landlords and neighbors helps too!

5. Promote Yourself and your Pet

If you want to succeed in finding a pet-friendly apartment, you have to promote your furbaby. Let your landlord know you share similar concerns about cleanliness. Express that your pet is potty-trained, vaccinated, flea-controlled, etc.

Getting a training certificate like the Canine Good Citizen’s for dogs is a good way to prove to your landlord your pet would be a good tenant.

6. Consider Purchasing Renters Insurance

Finding a pet-friendly apartment isn't an easy task. Liability is a top concern for landlords, and one of the main reasons landlords are against pets.

Landlords will feel more comfortable allowing pets if they are insured - this can be especially helpful if you have an aggressive breed. Be sure to find out whether your insurance has a dog bite exclusion, dangerous breed exclusion or other limitations.

Note that most rental insurance companies do not cover dog bites, so you may need to get a separate pet insurance policy. The Federation of Insured Dog Owners will provide canine liability insurance policies for all breeds of dogs.

As we mentioned, many apartment buildings limit the number of pets a tenant is allowed to have in their home. Landlords are much more likely to allow a fixed animal than one that could potentially have offspring bringing the apartment’s total pets way past the accepted amount.

7. Find Your Pet-Friendly Apartment Online

Finally, we at Apartment List are here to help! You can use our site to search for apartments that allow dogs or cats, making it easy for you to find the perfect place for you and your furry friend.

Just take our quiz asking a couple of questions about your preferred location and amenities, and we'll put together a list of pet-friendly apartments that match your criteria.

We partner with apartment complexes to provide detailed pet policies in our pet-friendly apartment listings. If a certain apartment community asks for a pet fee or a pet deposit, we make sure to include those in our descriptions.

If you have any other questions about renting with pets, feel free to check out our ultimate guide to renting with pets.

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Andrew is the former Director of Data Science at Apartment List, where he lead research into rental trends and affordability. Andrew previously worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company, and has a BA in Economics from Brigham Young University. Read More
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