Your Guide to Pet Rules for Apartments

Published 7:47 am Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Renting an apartment with a pet and navigating pet rules can get overwhelming. These rules may even make you give up on an otherwise desirable apartment and settle for something you don’t want as much.

One of the worst parts about this is that the regulations vary widely. There isn’t a single set of pet rules landlords adopt. Fortunately, for renters with pets, we’ll list the common pet rules for apartments, covering everything from breed and weight restrictions to pet fees and deposits. Read to the end to get caught up with pet rules before renting an apartment.

What Pet Rules Are There for Apartments?

Pet rules for apartments vary, depending on landlord preferences and the building management. Below, you’ll discover five of the most common pet rules for apartments.

Weight Restrictions

Weight restriction is perhaps the most common pet rule in apartment buildings. Since apartments tend to be small, landlords often implement this restriction to ensure pets aren’t too big for the property. Additionally, their insurance may necessitate such restrictions on pets.

There isn’t an exact weight limit adopted by landlords. It ranges anywhere between 20 and 50 pounds for most apartments. The weight limit may also be higher or lower based on the property. For example, the limit may be higher if the property has yard access.

Breed Restrictions

Although weight restrictions automatically rule out many large dog breeds, there may be specific breed restrictions. Commonly, these restrictions prohibit dog breeds with a reputation for being aggressive or dangerous, such as pit bull terriers, Rottweilers, and American bullies.

Additionally, there may be a city ordinance banning certain dog breeds. If your city has a ban on a dog breed, the landlord will be required to deny them due to the local legislation.

Pet Fees

Pet deposits aren’t anything new. Many landlords ask them for potential damage that may be caused by a pet. While this is a refundable payment you’ll get back if there isn’t any pet-related damage, there may also be pet fees.

Pet fees are usually non-refundable payments you pay when signing the rental agreement. It protects the landlord against wear and tear caused by pets. However, pet fees are optional, unlike specific restrictions the insurance or local laws may require the landlord. You will find many apartments that don’t have a pet fee.

Restriction on Number of Pets

This pet rule mainly comes down to the landlord’s preferences. Landlords may require tenants to limit the number of pets in their apartments.

Additionally, the city may have a limit on the maximum number of pets a household can keep. In these instances, this pet rule will be in place due to the local law, even if the landlord allows it.

No-Pet Policies

Lastly, the landlord may restrict the presence of pets altogether. While the above pet rules are about restricting pets due to breed or size or charging the tenant extra for having pets, this rule completely rules out having a pet on the property.

If the apartment you want to rent or the one you’re already living in has a no-pet policy, you can’t rent it or legally bring a pet home. However, it doesn’t apply to everyone and every pet. You won’t be subject to any pet rules if you have a service or emotional support animal.

Pet Rules for Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Service animals and emotional support animals are exempt from pet rules for apartments and other property types. The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from denying housing to individuals due to their disability. Since service animals and ESAs aren’t pets, not allowing them would be housing discrimination.

If you have an emotional support animal, you will need to present an ESA letter to your landlord or disclose your ESA after signing the rental agreement. Service animals, on the other hand, don’t require any documentation.

Although service animals don’t need specific documents, undergoing service animal registration can help you avoid the headache. Some registration services, such as, even issue ID cards with your rights in case of inquiries about your service animal.

Renting an Apartment With Your Pet

When renting an apartment with a pet, you’re likely to come across these pet rules. Unfortunately, many landlords are hesitant about tenants with pets due to previous bad experiences. Unless you have a service animal or an ESA, you must comply with these restrictions.

To save the headache, consider contacting other pet owners and pet-friendly real estate agents to find a suitable apartment for you and your pet.