Moving is always stressful, and this tends to be even more true if your family includes a pet. Finding the perfect home for your pet can be tricky. Many buildings only accept certain breeds or small pets. It is also common for buildings to charge costly pet fees and pet deposits.

In this guide, we’ll give you some tips for finding a perfect pet-friendly apartment. In addition, if you suffer from mental health issues, we’ll explore how you can legally live with your pet free of charge in any building!

Tips for Finding a Pet-Friendly Apartment

  1. Start your search early

    Initiate your apartment search well ahead of your intended move-in date. Pet-friendly apartments are in high demand, so give yourself ample time to increase your chances of finding a suitable space that meets your budget and requirements.

  2. Consider whether you qualify for an emotional support animal

    Did you know that owners of emotional support animals have special housing rights in all 50 states? If you have an ESA, it makes looking for an apartment much easier because even landlords with no-pet policies have to accept ESAs.

    Not only that, ESAs are also exempt from pet fees, pet deposits, and restrictions based on breed and size.

    For a landlord to accept an ESA, you need an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional. You can find more information about ESAs later in this article. 

  3. Utilize specialized search tools

    Take advantage of apartment search websites and apps that offer pet-friendly filters. This will streamline your search, saving time and energy by narrowing down options that cater to your pet’s needs.

  4. Investigate the neighborhood

    Explore the vicinity surrounding potential apartments to ensure it’s a pet-friendly environment. Keep an eye out for nearby parks, dog runs, pet stores, and veterinary clinics to guarantee you and your pet have access to essential amenities.

  5. Familiarize yourself with pet policies and restrictions

    Each apartment complex or landlord may impose different pet policies, such as breed or size restrictions, or limits on the number of pets allowed. Clarify these details before signing a lease to prevent unwelcome surprises.

  6. Inquire about fees and deposits

    Pet-friendly apartments often require a pet deposit or charge additional monthly fees. Be prepared to factor these costs into your budget and ask if the deposit is refundable.

    Pet deposits and fees can vary significantly depending on the property, location, and specific requirements of the pet. Generally, pet deposits can range from $100 to $500, while non-refundable pet fees can range from $200 to $400.

    Some landlords also charge monthly “pet rent,” typically from $10 to $50 per pet, to cover potential damages or additional cleaning costs.

  7. Examine the apartment layout

    During apartment tours, evaluate the layout and space available for your pet. Seek pet-friendly features such as easy-to-clean flooring, ample room for play and exercise, and access to outdoor areas.

  8. Create a pet resume

    Develop a pet resume that details your pet’s breed, size, age, vaccinations, and training. Include references from prior landlords or neighbors to attest to your pet’s behavior. This can help alleviate potential concerns and showcase your commitment to responsible pet ownership.

  9. Be honest and upfront

    When discussing your pet with potential landlords, be transparent about your pet’s size, breed, and any special requirements. Honesty fosters trust and contributes to a positive experience for you and your pet. If you have an ESA, mention that and let them know you are prepared to submit a valid ESA letter. 

  10. Present your pet’s best behavior

    If feasible, arrange for the landlord or property manager to meet your well-mannered pet. This can help dispel concerns and demonstrate that your pet will be a valuable addition to the community.

  11. Remain flexible and open-minded

    In your quest for the ideal pet-friendly apartment, be prepared to make some compromises. You may need to consider a different neighborhood, apartment size, or budget to find a suitable home for you and your pet.

Finding a Rental Apartment with an Emotional Support Animal

Under federal and state housing laws, emotional support animals are considered accommodations for people with mental health disabilities. That can include conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD.

By law, landlords must allow emotional support animals, even if their building policy prohibits all pets. Certain smaller landlords are exempt from these requirements. Owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units and single-family homes sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent do not have to accept ESAs.

Housing Rules for ESAs - Fair Housing Act - ESA Doctors

To prove you own an emotional support animal, you will need to give your landlord a copy of your ESA letter. An ESA letter comes from a licensed healthcare professional who has evaluated your mental health. You can get one from your therapist or doctor or an online provider. If you’re looking for a licensed professional online, there’s no better place to turn for help than ESA Doctors

If you have an ESA letter, the landlord cannot reject your ESA because it is a certain breed or size. They also can’t charge you any pet fees or pet deposits. Nor can they charge you an application fee for considering your emotional support animal. 

If you need advice on how to approach your landlord about an emotional support animal, check out this helpful guide

Final Thoughts

By employing these tips and maintaining organization, you can ease your concerns and successfully secure a pet-friendly apartment that meets your needs. Remember that clear communication and patience are essential to navigating the rental market as a pet owner. Before long, you and your furry companion will be settling into a new, welcoming home.

How Can I Get an ESA Letter from ESA Doctors?