Finding pet-friendly rentals

Not only is moving a stressful situation, owning pets only serves to compound the hassle.  Pet friendly rentals are increasingly harder to come by for pet owners.  To make matters worse most places that do accept pets place breed restrictions on dogs and only allow certain domestic pets such as dogs, cats, and fish.

This proves problematic for renters, 72% of whom own a pet of some sort. On the other end of the equation, only 36% of rentals allow pets at all.   Of those rentals that do allow pets, landlords tend to charge additional deposits that can sometimes be as high as $300 per pet which puts a strain on already tight funds. In addition to deposits, many landlords also charge a monthly rent for each pet which we’ve seen to be as high as $50, per pet, a month. 

Lack of pet friendly rentals in large cities

Most large cities in the US have a distinct lack of pet friendly apartments and rentals available. This lack of availability tends to put more strain on local shelters as people are forced to leave behind their pets and abandon them.   The ASPCA estimates that 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and a third of these are relinquished by their owners. Recently cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York have recognized this issue and have begun campaigns to encourage landlords to be more lenient with their pet policies.    However, there are some cities such as Portland, San Diego, Miami and Austin which rank as some of the most pet friendly cities in the country, and have high marks for the number of pet friendly rentals available.  Still, even in these more pet friendly cities, it may still prove difficult to find a rental home or apartment that allows pets.

Pet restrictions on rentals

Rentals that enforce breed and pet restrictions make finding a new place to live more difficult.   If you own cats you’ll discover that finding cat friendly apartments is much easier than finding a dog friendly location.  The breed restrictions typically and unfairly penalize owners of mixed breed dogs simply because the dog resembles the restricted breed.   Learn how to prevent dog breed discrimination in your community, as many of these animals are put in danger due to common misconceptions.  In addition to the breed restrictions there’s also common weight restrictions.  In the vast majority of cases we’ve seen this weight restriction enforced at a 50lbs, however there were rare occurrences going as low as a mere 10lbs.

Exceptions to restrictions

There are certain exceptions to pet policies on rentals for emotional support animals.    Those who suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses are actually allowed to have an emotional support animal in their rental despite an active policy restricting pets.  An emotional support animal has to be prescribed by a therapist and usually comes with a letter from a therapist to prove the validity of the claim.   We don’t recommend trying to manipulate a situation and get a letter from a therapist saying you need an emotional support animal unless you truly have a condition which meets the requirements.

Responsibility of pet owners

A large part of the problem facing pet owners who also rent is due to the lack of responsibility that some pet owners show.    Landlords are trying to recoup or prevent the costs of damage caused by the pets of irresponsible pet owners.   If we want to continue to rent and own pets we all must make a concerted effort to ensure that our pets are well behaved and do not destroy the property we are renting.   If we all strive to be better pet owners it would go a long way to reduce the lack of pet friendly rentals.


It’s important to note that rent-to-own home options are often more lenient on  pet policies, because the renter will one day be able to own the home they rent.  Leniency on tenant restrictions such as pets, and the rising cost of real estate down payments, are often cited as a common reason for choosing the path of rent-to-own.