How Do I Get Around Apartment Pet Restrictions?

If you love your fur babies like other pet owners, you want them to remain with you as you hunt for apartments.

Even if your landlord has a no-pet policy, you can’t leave your dog behind or abandon her.

Finding an apartment that allows pets can be a challenge, but there are some things you can do to overcome those pet restrictions.

Restricted Dog Breeds in Most Apartments

Before we get into how you can get around dog breed restrictions, let’s take a quick look at the common breeds that landlords usually reject.

These include:

  • Akita
  • Pitbull
  • Cane Corso
  • Staffordshire Terrier
  • Malamute
  • Great Danes
  • Boxers
  • Doberman
  • Mastiff
  • Dalmations

Even if your dog isn’t on the list but is quite large, the landlord may say it looks ‘too scary’ to be allowed in the apartment building.

This idea promotes negative stereotypes against certain dog breeds to the point that people abandon them so they can get an apartment.

Also read: Do Beagles Make Good Apartment Dogs?

Why do Apartments Have Dog Breed Restrictions?

The logic is that some dog breeds can cause more damage to property and people than others.

The larger the dog, the stronger it is, and if it isn’t trained or goes on a rampage, it can irreparably damage appliances, yards, cars, floors, and even walls.

These are expensive to replace and fix, so most landlords ban these breeds.

Besides personal damages, they also don’t want to be personally liable in case a dog attacks a tenant.

Also read: 6 Effective Tips to Potty Train Older Dogs in Apartment

How You Can Get Around Pet Restrictions for an Apartment

However, your landlord may be willing to compromise on certain aspects if you agree to be a responsible tenant.

Here are some things you can do to make them change their mind:

Train Your Dog With Help from a Professional

Landlords mostly ban dogs known for barking loudly and for hours on end because they don’t want to upset their tenants.

You can turn down loud music, but a scared or excited dog can take hours to calm down.

If you cannot stop your dog from howling in the middle of the night, get professional help from dog trainers. Send your pup to a training facility if you are busy.

Trainers can teach your dog how to behave in an apartment.

This includes training to prevent them from scratching the furniture, barking each time you bring out the vacuum or the doorbell rings, and lunging at other people.

Your dog will get a certificate when the training is complete, proving that it is well-behaved.

Present it to your landlord, so you aren’t evicted or turned away. See it as your fur baby’s acceptance certificate for being a good boy/girl.

Rent from Private Owners

Rental companies usually have strict policies regarding pets, but most private owners allow them if you are amicable.

If you want them to bend the rules for you, show them the aforementioned obedience certificate your dog earned, so they know it won’t be in any trouble.

They will be more likely to accept your dog if they see the animal won’t pose a threat to other tenants and their property.

If you cannot find a private owner, search for garden apartments. These provide access to outdoor spaces such as a yard and are thus much better for dogs that love the great outdoors.

Once your pup has an area where it can play freely, it will be too tired to bark or break things around the apartment.

Get Pet Insurance

Large dog breeds, such as Great Danes, can do significant damage if they aren’t trained and are in a playful mood. Your landlord didn’t sign up for that.

Mitigate damage costs by getting pet insurance. That way, you can reassure the landlord you are responsible for those expenses, and your landlord can breathe easy knowing you are good for it.

Make sure that the policy you get from your insurance company covers your breed.

Read the fine print of the contract thoroughly before signing. You may have to pay out of pocket otherwise or get turned away before moving in.

Make a Pet Resume

Like a regular job resume, a pet resume will tell your landlord precisely what your pet is like, along with his best qualities.

The first meeting will not satisfy them because they don’t know what your dog is capable of.

A pet resume can melt the hardest of hearts if it contains the following:

  • Your dog’s name, age, breed, and whether it is well-trained, etc.
  • Positive attributes of the breed.
  • Weight and size of the breed. A miniature dachshund can sometimes do more damage than a German Shepherd.
  • Whether your pet is a quiet breed or not. Remember that a calm breed with anxiety or PTSD can get pretty loud.
  • Flea treatment history.
  • Vaccination history.
  • A positive reference letter from a previous landlord saying that your pet did not cause any property damage.
  • Your daily routine and how you take care of your pet.
  • A grooming schedule.

And anything else you can think of that places your pet in the best possible light.

Pay Extra to Keep Your Pet

If the landlord refuses to allow you to keep a pet, offer to pay an extra fee as a pet deposit that can take care of potential damages if any.

The offer will show them that you are a responsible owner and will give them peace of mind.

Not all states accept pet deposits – landlords living there will not be able to offer you this option.

In that case, try to give extra money each month as rent that can cover damages, if any. Make sure it is mentioned in your lease.

Register Your Dog as a Support Animal

One of the easiest ways to get around apartment pet and dog breed restrictions is to register your pet as a support animal.

As per the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities, including the animal they use to aid them, such as a Seeing Eye dog.

Since any dog can be a service dog, you can keep your pet without fear of eviction. It’s great news for people with stereotyped breeds, such as bully dogs and Rottweilers.

Besides aiding the blind, support dogs are trained to assist individuals with mobility issues, Epilepsy, depression, anxiety, autism, and who suffer from panic attacks.

You only need a note from your doctor recommending a service animal as a support animal or get a certificate printed out for your landlord.

Official documents look much more intimidating and legal than a doctor’s handwritten note.

Some tasks that a service dog can do include pushing a wheelchair, opening doors, picking up dropped items, and helping their owners cross the road.

Dogs can even alert their owners to sounds, remind them to take medication, and even press an elevator button.

You can send your dog to a training center for training so it can officially become a service animal.

What if the Landlord Refuses to Allow Pets?

If despite all of your efforts, a landlord refuses to bend the rules for you to allow pets, it would be better to look elsewhere.

Abandoning your pet or putting it up for adoption will be cruel. But if you are adamant and want to live in that apartment, you have two options:

Lawyer Up

A letter from an attorney may encourage the landlord to bypass the no-pet policy for you if your dog is an emotional or medical support animal.

Contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

You can file a complaint with the HUD if you are not on a time crunch. They have a pile of applications to go through, and yours may be at the bottom.

But if you can wait, they may be able to help you.

When Landlords Cannot Accept Banned Breeds

Keep in mind that as per the Fair Housing Act, in certain situations, landlords cannot accept any animal on the premises, including emotional support animals.

Apartment buildings with only a few units, with one occupied by the landlord, cannot accommodate pets.

This also includes single-family homes sold or rented out without the help of a broker.

If these considerations don’t apply, your landlord should be able to accommodate your request if you have a disability and your dog is trained to offer support.

However, if you bring a banned breed with you, you can face the following:

  • A hefty fine amounting to $100/day, which can quickly drain your bank account.
  • Your landlord may demand that you put the dog down.
  • You may be evicted without notice, or your lease will be terminated.
Also read: 10 Easy Animals You Can Breed for Money in Apartment

Wrapping Up

The most you can do is get a breed test to prove your dog isn’t a banned breed.

You may be legally allowed to keep your pet if the test is negative. But if you are short on time and cannot afford the stress, it would be better to search for pet-friendly apartments.

Your dog is your companion, after all. Would you leave behind a loved one because your landlord doesn’t like them?

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