Article | 3:08 min read

Certain Cities Make it Tough for Pet-Owning Renters


Arial view of a large city

Some places are better to rent than others for residential property seekers, and that can be especially true for renters with four-legged animals in tow. Trulia recently reported certain cities are much more pet friendly to prospective renters than others [1]. The West Coast, in particular, seems to be a better market for renters with pets, as four of the top five markets near or on the Pacific Ocean.

Trulia reported the best market for renters with pets is San Francisco. Seattle was second, Denver came in third, Oakland, California, fourth and Portland, Oregon, fifth. Trulia came up with the results by examining the cost of deposit per pet, any nonrefundable pet fees and average monthly rent per pet among the 25 largest cities in the U.S. The real estate source also considered the number of pet stores within the city and the percentage of rental units allowing dogs and cats.

The District of Columbia was the most expensive city in the U.S. for renting pet owners. The average pet deposit in the city was $350, with pet fees of more than $450. The average pet rent in D.C. is nearly $45 per month.

In Boston and Chicago, the average pet rent is $9 and $10, respectively.

Bernie Winter, an expert in condo law, told CBC News landlords are afraid of several circumstances when dealing with pets [2].

"There's just a lot of factors, and it comes down to everything from allergies to damage to property," Winter said.

The size of the dog matters

Some cities are also more likely to allow big dogs or little dogs than others. The best city for allowing renters with big dogs was Chicago, as 12 percent of landlords allowed big dogs. The worst city was Portland at just 2 percent. Chicago was voted the sixth best city for renters with pets. Boston came in at No. 14.

Meanwhile, Denver came in atop the list for allowing small dogs at 44 percent. Philadelphia was among the worst in that category, as only 19 percent of landlords allowed small dogs.

Winter said the best thing anyone can do before making investments in a rental or condo is to do plenty of research. In some cases, a condo association might be pet friendly, but a condo owner renting their place to a third-party can say no pets allowed.

"Don't move into a place thinking, 'Oh well, just because I saw a cat on a balcony, I'm OK,'" Winter said. "Do your homework and find out for sure what the rules are."

Those who sign a lease with a security deposit for their pet should make sure everything is in writing. It's important to confirm all of the terms discussed are properly laid out in the lease.

Renters considering a pet purchase might want to consider a cat rather than a dog. Trulia reported 20 percent of rental units allow cats, while 18 percent permit small dogs and 4 percent permit big dogs.

Sell yourself and your pet to the landlord

Ralph McLaughlin, Trulia's housing economist, said landlords who are pet friendly still might give preference to a person without any four-legged animals.

"Just because a landlord explicitly says he or she will allow a pet, doesn't mean that they will choose a tenant that has a pet," McLaughlin said. "When all else is equal, a landlord will probably choose someone without a pet just because it minimizes the risk of damage."

If an animal is well-behaved, some housing experts recommend introducing the animal to the landlord or building manager to show the animal has good manners and won't be a damage risk.


[1]. Is Your City a Rental Muttropolis for Pet Owners?

[2]. Know the pet rules before renting, says Bernie Winter


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