Moving is always a stressful time for everyone involved.  This tends to be even more true if your family includes a pet.  Pet friendly apartments can seem almost impossible to find.  Even worse,  a lot of places only accept certain types or sizes of pets making finding a perfect apartment for you and your fur family about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack.

In a country where as much as 47% of the population owns a dog, cat or both,  it’s a little disheartening to hear that roughly 63% of the apartments do not allow pets.  Those that do often insist on a premium for allowing you to have a pet that can be as high as 19%.  Plus, pet may not mean the cat or dog you are thinking of since as little as 20% of landlords allow cats with even less allowing small dogs, and closer to 4% welcoming a large dog. That premium is just the increase in the rent to say nothing of pet deposits, walking services, or other additional pet apartment related expenses.

Breed and Weight Restrictions at Pet Friendly Apartments

As if finding a place to live with your pet wasn’t already difficult enough, weight and breed restrictions make the task even harder.  While finding cat friendly apartments is a bit easier, it is not uncommon for apartments to ban pets over a certain weight limit which may be as little as 10 pounds.  Even in the most dog friendly apartments, it isn’t unusual to find a cap of 50 pounds and a long list of unacceptable breeds.  These restrictions don’t just affect the pure breeds either because a perfectly lovable mutt may look too Rottweiler or Pit Bull and still not make the cut.

Pet Friendly Apartments in Los Angeles, New York, and other Large Cities

The lack of pet friendly apartments have reached such levels that the city of Los Angeles (which has one of the highest percentages of renters in the US) is actually trying to encourage more landlords to accept pets in their apartments.  Instead,  there are ever more pets in the shelters because housing to accommodate them is so hard to come by.  But, make no mistake about it, Los Angeles is far from the only big city that makes it nearly impossible to find a place to live with your pet.

Other cities where pet housing is hard to come by include San Francisco and New York.  One of the worst in the nation may well be Brooklyn where pets often have to be snuck into buildings to prove they are not a nuisance before being accepted.  Even pet friendly apartments may have stacked restrictions making actually getting a pet accepted in the building is a massive hurdle.

Cities with the Most Pet Friendly Apartments

The city of San Diego is actually one of the most pet friendly areas in the US, ranking number 10 on a national list.  High marks also go to Austin, Miami, and Portland.  Each of these cities offer higher numbers of rentals that accept pets than many other surrounding cities.  They also tend to have more open policies allowing for larger pets in apartments and less breed restrictions than most other cities. Even in these cities, it may be difficult to find a pet friendly apartment. 

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) in No Pet Apartments

People suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental disabilities are allowed to live with their pets in almost any apartment in the US. Comfort Animals or Emotional Support Animals are essentially pets that come with a letter from a therapist or psychologist. Under the FHA, apartments must accept emotional support animals and allow them to live with their owners. Emotional support animals are also exempt from breed restrictions and weight restrictions and they do not have to be trained or registered in any type of registry. The pet must not disturb neighbors or destroy property, or it may be subject to removal. Remember that emotional support animals are not service animals and are only entitled to access apartments and airline carriers.

Living with your Pet

Making sure your new home is right for your whole family including the 4 legged members can be a daunting task no matter where in the US you live.  It is important to make sure you clearly understand the pet policy of any apartment you look at and ask plenty of questions so you don’t discover on move in day that the new apartment isn’t going to allow your best friend inside (unless you have an emotional support animal).  After all, it isn’t really home if everyone isn’t welcome inside.

How Can I Get an ESA Letter from ESA Doctors?