Whether you’re already a proud pet parent or plan on adding a furry friend to the family in the near future, renting with a pet comes with a few extra steps and things to consider when apartment hunting. As agents, we run pet-friendly apartment searches on the daily—read on for our FAQs about renting with pets!
Renting With Pets: FAQ
Q: Do apartment complexes actually charge “pet rent”?
Yup. At most apartment complexes, you can expect to spend somewhere around $20-$40/month per pet on top of your base rent if you choose to include a pet on your lease.
Q: What other fees should I expect when renting with a pet?
We usually see apartment complexes charge a non-refundable pet fee and a refundable pet deposit. The good news is, if your dog doesn’t decide to make a snack of the drywall or something, you should get some/all of your pet deposit back after your lease is up.
Q: If I adopt a pet mid-lease, do I still have to pay the same amount, or are the pet fees pro-rated by month?
Unfortunately, even if your lease is only a few months out from being up, properties will typically still charge you the full amount listed on their pet policy. Even if you choose to renew at the same property, it’s likely that you’ll be required to pay the upfront pet fee again at the start of your next lease term. If you’re nearing the end of your lease and are considering adopting a cat or dog, it may be easier on your wallet to wait until you sign a new lease before committing to pet parenthood.
Q: What dog breeds are on the “standard breed restrictions” list?
If an apartment says they don’t allow specific dog breeds, typically this list includes dogs that are pure-bred or noticeably mixed with:
- American Bulldogs
- American Pit Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Doberman Pinschers
- Great Danes
- Cane Corso
- Chow Chows
- Wolf Hybrids
Q: My dog is on the standard breed restriction list. Are there apartments that will accept us?
Definitely! While many apartments adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to the pets they accept, there are plenty of options that don’t have breed or weight restrictions. An apartment locator will be able to save you time by only showing you options that accept pets of all shapes and sizes.
Q: My pet is a registered emotional support animal. Do breed restrictions and pet fees apply to us?
If your pet is a registered ESA, breed restrictions do not apply and properties may not charge you pet-related fees. Fair housing laws state “landlords must make an effort to reasonably accommodate your emotional support animal, even if the property has a ‘no pets’ policy.” Learn more about ESAs and fair housing laws here.
Q: The property I’m moving to is requiring a “pet interview” before they approve my application. What does that entail?
Some properties require you to bring your pet in for a general assessment before approving your application. This is typically done to screen for any behavioral red flags, and ensure you’re being honest on the application.
Q: I have an “exotic” pet. Will I be able to find an apartment that accommodates us?
Pets like rabbits, snakes, rodents, lizards, and birds are prohibited in many complexes. However, some properties allow “uncommon” pets conditionally— you may just need to pay an additional deposit or do a pet screening to get approved.
Q: Does my renters insurance policy cover pet-related damage to my apartment?
This one isn’t a simple yes or no answer. Renters insurance is almost always required by your landlord and provides coverage for a variety of “perils” that could occur. Direct damage from your pet isn’t one of the named “perils”. With base coverage, if your dog tears up the carpet in your bedroom, you’d be straight out of luck. However, if your pet were to trigger a named peril, you may be eligible for coverage— an example our friends at Lemonade give is a cat knocking over a candle and starting a small fire as a result. In that case, you’d most likely be able to receive some compensation for your damaged property from your insurance provider. Lemonade does offer added coverage for damage your pet causes to your landlord’s property— when you’re getting your quote, you’ll have the option to include up to $500 of additional coverage after any deductions from your security deposit! So re: the dog tearing up your carpet scenario— if you opted to include that endorsement in your plan, those costs would most likely be covered since the floor is the landlord’s property.
Another situation where renters insurance may kick in during a pet-related incident is with dog bites. If your dog isn’t considered a “high-risk” breed, medical costs from dog bites would also be covered.
Want to learn more? Read a deeper dive into all things renters insurance here. We recommend Lemonade to our clients— some manage to pay as little as $5/mo for coverage. Get your quote here!
Q: What kinds of pet-friendly amenities do apartment complexes offer?
If you’re renting with a pet, there are plenty of properties with amenities like pet parks and pet wash stations. You can even find properties with units with private fenced-in yards for your furry friend to get some outdoor time without needing to leash up.
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