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The Rundown on Renting with Pets

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Sarah Wuenscher
Nov 9, 2022

If you’re one of the many lucky apartment-dwellers who’s looking to live with a roomie who doesn’t pay rent (and may or may not have four legs and a tail), finding the perfect place comes with some extra details to consider. Read on for a deep dive into all things renting with pets!

Fees to expect

Most apartment complexes require you to pay extra when you’re renting with a pet to cover pet-related wear and tear on your unit.

  • Pet fee: Typically nonrefundable, anywhere from $200-$500.
  • Pet deposit: Not all properties will require both a deposit and fee, but occasionally you’ll find places that require another $200-$500 in addition to the non-refundable fee. But, if your pet doesn’t cause any significant damage to your unit, you should be able to get this money back at the end of your lease. Be sure to check the fine print!
  • Pet rent: We typically see pet rent rates add around $10-$40/mo on top of your regular rent payment.

Restrictions and policies

Before signing the lease on your new apartment, there are some rules of thumb and fine-print clauses to look out for if your plus one has four legs and a tail.

Maximum pet per household limits

Some properties have clauses restricting the number of pets per unit. If you’re planning on renting with a roomie who also has pets, make sure to double-check that the property’s policy allows for all aboard!

Breed, weight, and age restrictions

Breed restrictions are one of the most common hoops our clients with dogs jump through when searching for a pet-friendly apartment. If a property does have breed restrictions, typically it’s for “aggressive dog breeds” (emphasis on the quotation marks — we know your pup is sweet!) and mixes of those breeds. The list of aggressive breeds can vary by property, city, and state but these are the most commonly noted breeds overall:

  • German Shepherds
  • Mastiffs
  • Rottweilers
  • Pit Bulls
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Cane Corsos
  • Dobermans
  • Boxers
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Chow Chows
  • Akitas
  • Wolf hybrids

If you have a mixed breed or rescue and you’re not quite sure what breeds they’re mixed with, one option is to do a pet DNA test. They start at around $60 and can be purchased online or at pet supply stores. This step may seem excessive, but if your mixed-breed pup looks similar to any of the aggressive breeds listed by the property, DNA results showing they’re not related can reassure the property that your pup is good to go!

When it comes to age and weight restrictions, most properties set a weight limit of about 99 pounds. Age restrictions are less common, but we have seen properties require your pet to be no less than a year old.

While breed, weight, and age restrictions usually apply to dogs, sometimes other pets can be included in these policies. For example, if your animal is considered “exotic” by the property, you may have issues getting it approved. If you’re iffy about whether or not that classification could apply to your pet, the best course of action is to ask ahead of time so that you don’t run into issues later!

ESAs and Service Animals

If you’re renting with an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or service dog, there are a few things you should know. Landlords and property groups are federally required by the Fair Housing Act to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with an ESA or service dog. Since the animal is classified as an extension of the tenant’s well-being and not as a traditional pet, these accommodations include:

  • Fees and pet rent are waived for tenants with an ESA or service dog
  • Breed restrictions and weight limits are lifted, or ESAs/service dogs are seen as an exception at properties that do not allow pets
  • ESAs and service dogs are documented on the lease even though deposits, pet rent, and breed restrictions are waived
  • To learn more about renting with an ESA or service dog, click here!

Keep in mind that landlords and property managers will require written permission from a licensed medical professional for the ESA or service dog.

Finding a pet-friendly apartment

Finding the perfect apartment for you and your pet comes with all of the usual considerations, and then some. Maybe you want a unit with a yard so your dog has space to sunbathe, or want windows that face a tree so your cat to do some pro-level bird watching. If you’re worried about breed restrictions or weight limits, we’ve got the scoop on properties that allow furry friends of all shapes and sizes. When you’re ready to get started on your pet-friendly apartment search, we’re here for you!


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