Last Updated on September 3, 2022

If you’re like 72% of renters, you need a rental apartment that both you and your pet can call home. But pet-friendly apartments can be difficult to find. That’s because many landlords are nervous about renting to pet owners. Some also put breed restrictions in place. In fact, the struggle to find appropriate housing for their furry friends leads renters to surrender half a million pets annually to shelters. Pet-friendly apartments can ease the burden on pet owners by providing rental units that consider pet owners’ needs. 

Our complete guide to pet-friendly apartments will cover everything you need to know about finding pet-friendly apartments for rent, including how to search for one on Dwellsy. So whether you’re looking for a pet-friendly townhome or a pet-friendly studio apartment, you can find the amenities needed to keep your pet comfortable.

What is a pet-friendly apartment?

A pet-friendly apartment is an apartment in a building that caters specifically to the needs of pet owners and their animals. This means that it fosters a welcoming and friendly environment for both you and your favorite creature. Pet-friendly homes are considered desirable for their pet amenities, which are not found in the average apartment complex.

How are the amenities different from a normal apartment?

Some common amenities featured in pet-friendly condos, lofts, and apartments are communal play areas or easy access to a dog park. Other common pet amenities include on-site dog washing or pet-sitting. Due to these shared amenities, there is often a community of pet-loving neighbors for you to be a part of. This may be beneficial for your pet’s social life and yours. And many pet-friendly rentals are also family-friendly.

A pet-friendly house can also include pet amenities, though they may not be as community-oriented. For example, pet-friendly houses may include amenities like an in-unit washer, a dog door, a yard or dog run, and locking bedrooms.

Top 4 benefits of pet-friendly apartment rentals

  1. Pet-friendly amenities: Pet-friendly apartments typically come with a host of pet-friendly apartment amenities that are convenient for you and your pet, from cleanup stations to an on-site dog-sitter. 
  2. Pet-friendly neighbors: If you move into a pet-friendly apartment, your neighbors will be more likely to have pets of their own or be accepting of your pet. You’re less likely to hear complaints if your dog happens to bark when you’re not home, for example. 
  3. A pet-friendly landlord: You’re much less likely to encounter a Cruella Deville-type character if you live in a pet-friendly rental. You’ll still be responsible for any damage your pet causes to the rental unit.
  4. Socialization for you and your pet: Living in a pet-friendly community is a wonderful way for you and your pet to make new friends, especially if there are communal play areas or planned pet-friendly events. 

What to look for in a pet-friendly apartment

A pet-friendly rental should allow pets and support a more convenient lifestyle for pet owners. You’ll want to look for a walkable area with either an on-site dog park or one nearby. You may also desire pet sitting and grooming services. 

And if you have a larger breed dog, square footage may be important to you. Even if a regular two-bedroom apartment is enough space for you and your family, you might look for more space so that your dog has room to run around.

Whether you’re looking for pet-friendly one-bedroom apartments or five-bedroom rental houses, you’ll need to ensure your new home has the other amenities you need. You may want a clubhouse, a study lounge, a private bathroom in the master, or easy access to shopping centers. If you have kids, you may look for a pet-friendly home close to their elementary, middle, or high school. You may also have other unique needs — for example, you might be looking for a pet-friendly short-term apartment, corporate housing, military housing, or senior housing.

Renting with pets can seem daunting between your pet’s needs and your own. But Dwellsy makes it easy to narrow down your search results based on the amenities you’re looking for. Apply the right filters, and you’ll find your perfect rental match in no time. 

How is a pet-friendly apartment different from a “pets allowed” apartment?

Obviously, “no pets allowed” apartments make their feelings clearly known. Still, there’s also a difference between pet-friendly apartments and “pets allowed” apartments. Pet owners will likely want to lean towards pet-friendly apartments if they have the option. 

“Pets allowed” markers mean that the landlord is open to pets, but does not necessarily welcome them. This means they typically don’t offer the same pet amenities as pet-friendly apartments. “Pets allowed” markers may also mean less leniency concerning loud animal noises, accidental messes, or smells in the building.

Can I have any type of pet in a pet-friendly apartment?

You can’t necessarily have any type of pet you want, even if the apartment is “pet-friendly.” Landlords have different preferences when it comes to what kinds of animals are allowed in their apartments. They may have restrictions around breed, weight, number of pets, or many other different characteristics.

Like many other landlords, the landlords of pet-friendly apartments are concerned about the damage that your pet could cause. This is often the cause of these restrictions. Other times, it is a matter of personal preference or sensitivity to the needs of others living in the building.

In many cases, it is worth reaching out to the landlord to try to negotiate for your pet. Sometimes, a landlord will make an exception; after all, they are pet-friendly for a reason. Suppose you can provide proof of training for your animal, like the canine good citizen certification. In that case, some landlords will be willing to reconsider their policy.

If you are relocating between states, ensure that your pet is allowed in the state where you’re moving. For example, ferrets and hedgehogs, popular small pets in much of the U.S., are illegal in California.

What if I have a service animal or emotional support animal?

Service animals and emotional support animals have different legal rights than normal pets do. Their housing rights reflect this. 

For example, suppose the tenant can prove they are disabled. In that case, a landlord can only deny service or emotional support animals under minimal circumstances. This is true of any type of rental apartment, be it pet-friendly, “pets allowed,” or “no pets allowed.” Therefore, exceptions must usually be made for service animals and emotional support animals.

But while your options may be open legally, we would still highly recommend looking into pet-friendly apartments. They are more suitable for anyone living with pets of any kind. You may find your life as a renter considerably easier if your landlord and neighbors are pet lovers. This is not to mention the pet amenities that you will likely have access to. 

What is the difference between pet fees and pet rent?

One-time pet fees are typically collected before you move into an apartment and are non-refundable. They cover wear and tear on the unit due to your pet. You may also be charged a pet cleaning fee. Pet rent also covers wear and tear from your pet, but it is collected monthly as long as you live in the unit. 

Will I still have to pay a pet deposit in a pet-friendly apartment?

This will vary from apartment to apartment, but the answer is often yes. The purpose of a pet deposit is typically to cover the damage your pet might cause to your unit. This concern doesn’t go away for the landlord, even if your apartment is pet-friendly.

One important thing to note as you consider pet deposits is that they are legal in some states and illegal in others. Be sure to check the laws in your state. That way, you’ll understand if a landlord is trying to charge you illegally.

Remember that if damages from your pet cost more than your security deposit, you can still be liable for the full extent of the damage. In certain states, Lemonade renters insurance would provide coverage for damage to a landlord’s property from the tenants’ pet. It provides up to $500 worth of coverage (if the damage exceeds your apartment’s security or pet deposit).

pet friendly apartments

Is the rent higher in a pet-friendly apartment?

Generally speaking, yes. It depends on the apartment, but landlords typically charge more for pet-friendly rentals. Pet-friendly apartments in New York City, for example, cost an average of 30-40% more than the average apartment. This is for a couple of reasons. The first is that there are fewer pet-friendly apartments out there than there are regular ones. However, pet ownership continues to grow. This means that the demand for them is high, which allows landlords to charge a premium. The second reason is that these apartments often offer specific amenities that can be hard to find elsewhere, so landlords charge higher rent to recoup the cost of having these amenities.

As you consider whether you’d like to move into a pet-friendly apartment, consider whether the convenience of the amenities, the location, and the social opportunities available for you and your pet are worth the higher rent.

Tips for finding pet-friendly apartments in your area

Dwellsy’s property search tool makes it easy for you to find pet-friendly apartments. Simply enter the area you want to see rentals in, and search for the amenity “Pet Care/Grooming” in the filters. You can see all of the pet-friendly rentals in the area you would like to live in. 

You can also add other amenities like a dog run/park and dog walking. In addition, you’ll be able to filter by price and property type.

Find your new pet-friendly apartment on Dwellsy

Finding a rental where your pet can feel at home doesn’t have to be a full-time job. You can use Dwellsy to quickly narrow down your options, so you can apply for the apartments that fit all of your requirements (and Fido’s). Dwellsy’s simple-to-use apartment search tool can match you with your ideal apartment today, so your rental search will be a tail-wagging success.

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