If you have a furry family member, it can be challenging to find the perfect apartment where you can all live. Apartment List recently published data about the top cities for dog and cat lovers; today, we’re here to help you understand how to find a pet-friendly apartment.

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Fees and Restrictions

First, we’ll address the common restrictions and fees that you may face.

Restrictions

Every landlord has a different pet policy, but most have one or more of the following rules for tenants bringing pets:

  • Number of pets: Most apartment buildings limit residents to a total of 2 pets.
  • Weight restrictions: Some apartments do not allow (or may charge additional fees for) dogs over 55 lbs.
  • Aggressive dogs: Many landlords will not allow residents to bring dogs deemed “aggressive”. There’s no set list, but this usually includes Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Rotweillers, German Shepherds, and Great Danes. While your pet may be harmless, most landlords (and insurance companies) find these breeds to be risky tenants!

Pet Fees

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. Here are the fees that we commonly see:

Pet fees

Know your rights

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 and emotional support pets are not subject to pet fees.

What you can do

The list of fees and restrictions can be daunting, but Apartment List is here to help! Many landlords and property managers can be flexible with policies as long as you can show that you and your pet are responsible tenants. Here are three strategies to convince your landlord that your pet is a safe bet.

1. Build a pet resume

Building a pet resume is all about showcasing your pet, and makes the screening process faster. Things you can include in your pet’s resume are: photo, description, training certification, health records, habits, grooming. The Peninsula Humane Society provides a good example of what your pet resume can include.  A letter of recommendation from previous landlords and neighbors helps too!

2. Promote yourself and your pet

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.

3. Get insurance for your pet

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.

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. Good luck hunting!


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Photo attributions:

Cat and dog: Photo by kitty.green66 / CC By 2.0

Dog: Photo by Hotphotochick / CC BY-SA 3.0

Cat: Photo by Adriano Makoto Suzuki used under CC BY 2.0