Tips for Renting a Dog-Friendly Apartment

More apartments are becoming open to pets, but finding a good one can be difficult; here’s what you should consider when looking for an apartment with your four-legged friend

Over 48 million households in the US have a dog, and who could blame them? Dogs offer great companionship and they can improve an owner’s physical health and mental well-being. Plus, let’s face it, they’re just downright adorable. However, when it comes to moving, it can be rather tricky to find a pet-friendly apartment. In fact, two-thirds of pet owners say this is a challenge that they have encountered. While more apartments are becoming open to pets, finding a good one can be difficult—and once you do find one, the competition can be fierce.

Thankfully, there are a few key ways to assess potential rentals and swing the landlord’s vote in your favor. Here’s what you should consider when looking for an apartment with your four-legged friend.

Start Searching ASAP

The sooner you start your search, the more options you will have. Apartments can be found everywhere from newspaper classifieds to online marketplaces like Facebook and Craigslist. You may also want to take your apartment hunt to rental specific websites as well. On many rental sites, you can filter by “pet-friendly,” or even “dog-friendly,” to expedite your search.

Inquire About Specifics

When you find a listing for an apartment that you love and see the words “pet-friendly,” you may want to celebrate. But don’t pop the bubbly just yet. A listing that states pet-friendly is always a good sign. However, that phrase isn’t one size fits all, so be sure to inquire about specifics.

Your questions may include:

  • The number of pets permitted.
  • Restrictions for size, breed, or type of animal.
  • Required vaccinations. While less common, this stipulation is possible, especially in co-op rentals.
  • Area restrictions. Are dogs allowed in shared areas? Rooftop patio, elevator, lobby, etc.

Consider the Small Details

When you go for a walkthrough on an apartment, pay attention to the small details. It can be easy to get caught up dreaming about the cast iron soaker tub but think about what would make your pooch happy—or unhappy.

  • Are there lots of stairs? An elevator? If you have an older dog, a walk-up apartment can take a toll on their joints, specifically their hips.
  • How long does it take to get outside? Living on the top floor may not be ideal for a dog who has weak bladder control.

Outside of the home, it’s a good idea to map out any dog parks nearby. Moving far and require a new dog walker or doggy daycare?  Try scoping one out with the local classifieds or a site like rover.com.

Walk the Neighborhood

It isn’t enough for a building to be pet-friendly—the neighborhood should also be well-suited for your pup. It is always great to check out the nearby dog park, but we recommend taking a walk around in the rental’s neighborhood to get a good feel for the area

  • Are there other people walking their dogs? If yes, this is usually a good sign.
  • Are there any dogs or animals running loose that could pose a danger?
  • Are there areas with needles or glass laying around?

These are just a few of the questions to keep in mind as you explore the area and evaluate risks.

Use a Pet Resume

Dogs are denied from buildings generally due to two reasons: tenants have allergies and dogs are a damage risk. While it is hard to argue with allergies—which is why so many landlords use it to deny pets—you can help a potential landlord better understand how well-trained and wonderful your dog is with a pet resume.

A pet resume is exactly what it sounds like: It lists all of your dog’s credentials and helps a potential landlord see how great your dog really is. Another upside of a pet resume is it demonstrates that you are taking your pet and application seriously.

This resume may include:

  • Obedience training
  • Vaccinations
  • Breed and size
  • A photo
  • Reference from a previous landlord
  • A quick blurb about you as a pet owner

You may also want to add a few lines about what your furry friend likes to give a feel for their personality.

Schedule a Meet and Greet

A meet and greet with your dog might be the extra push that a landlord needs if they are on the fence. While not all landlords are open to this, many will agree to a quick hello. Please note, this is not suitable for all dogs. If your furry friend gets yappy and nervous around strangers, it may not show their best side. However, if you have a social butterfly that loves pets and attention from anyone willing, go for it. It will give the potential landlord a chance to experience first-hand just how friendly and well-mannered your dog is, which can only help your case.

Know Your Rights

Knowing exactly what your landlord can and can’t ask of you and your dog is crucial. For example, while asking for a pet deposit or pet rent is legal, there is a limit to these fees in some cities and states. And if your dog is a service animal, they aren’t subject to these fees.

Look into your city and state laws that apply to renting with dogs. Another good resource to have on hand is The Humane Society’s rental guide. This guide is excellent to help navigate common problems that you may stumble upon, for everything from contracts to eviction.

Finding the right apartment is a surefire way to get your move with your dog off to the right start. It may require a bit more effort and planning, but it is undoubtedly worth it in the long run. After all, can you truly call a place home if your four-legged friend isn’t welcome, safe, and happy? We didn’t think so!

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