Why Apartments Don’t Allow Pets?


Pets are the best friends we usually don’t know we need until we get them. So what happens if you find an apartment that checks all your boxes but the building manager gives you a ‘no pets allowed’ warning?

Different apartment buildings have different experiences with tenants with pets and there are a couple of reasons why they might refuse to let the apartment.

This article looks at some of the reasons why some landlords have a strict no pets policy and what steps you can take if you are not ready to give up both the house and the pet.

Why some apartments do not lease to pet owners

Here are some of the most common reasons why your landlord will say no to your cute furry friend. 

1. They leave waste 

There is no sure way for your landlord to know whether you are a responsible pet owner or not. Some pets are not properly trained. This means there is a chance that the animal will leave stains of their waste in the unit.

Also, there is a chance of the cat or dog doing its business in shared spaces like the hallways and stairway. Some apartment buildings have front and backyards and sometimes the animal will go there. If the pet owner is irresponsible in the disposing and cleaning of this waste, other people living in the apartment will be inconvenienced.

2. Damage to the apartment

If a newly renovated unit with shiny furniture to a new tenant with pets, chances are that towards the end of the lease, the unit will be in a worse condition compared to a similar apartment leased to a tenant with no pets.

Cats and dogs will leave scratches on wooden furniture, spoiling the coat of polish. They might also scratch on the seats, exposing the inner fillings. This will cause a loss on the landlord’s end since although the items will still be in functioning condition, they will be less attractive and therefore less appealing to the next prospective tenant. 

3. Pets can get noisy

Imagine getting home after a long, hectic day, ready to get some rest, and then all you can hear is the neighbor’s dog’s incessant barking. And then when you finally fall asleep, you are suddenly woken up by another neighbor’s cat mewing in the middle of the night. And we all know how animals are, if one dog starts to bark, others in the apartment building are likely to follow suit.

Although trained pets are less likely to cause commotions like this, they are still animals and they can decide to be noisy when they want to. Many landlords will say no to pets to protect the peace of mind of other tenants and to also keep themselves from being woken up with phone calls of noise complaints. 

If the noise is too much and it irritates tenants in adjacent apartment buildings, your landlord is likely to get a city violation notice for noise complaints.

4. They can escape

It is not surprising to find posters looking for a lost pet. No matter how careful you are as a pet-owning tenant, the chances of your cat, dog, or snake finding its way out of the apartment unit are not at zero.

This might cause panic among other residents. If the pet gets into another tenant’s apartment, the owner of that apartment will surely be alarmed. Also, there is no guarantee that it won’t leave its poo or pee there. 

Small pets like hamsters and gerbils also like to escape if their cages are left open and unattended, even for a short while. Once they are loose they might chew or scratch holes on your carpet and chew through the wiring in your house or your neighbors’.

5. Pets can cause health hazards

Regardless of how friendly your pet is, you can never know what will send it over the edge. A playtime session with another tenant’s child could quickly turn into chaos once the child starts crying over a dog bite.

If your pet ever leaves the house unattended, there is a chance that it might cause an accident. For example, if it wanders into a house where the tenant has serious allergies, the situation could quickly escalate.

Also, some insurance policies are unclear when it comes to dealing with pets and in some cases, they are not covered. This means that any accidents they might cause will have to be paid for out of pocket either by you or your landlord.

Although your pet is your responsibility, you might have to involve the landlord in such scenarios, and in some cases, he/she might be held responsible. A restriction on pets might be set to prevent such things from happening.

6. Pet odors

Even if you responsibly take care of your pet, there is a chance that your cat might decide to pee on the carpet or the floor at the corner. This usually results in a strong smell that is pretty hard to ignore and even harder to get rid of. 

Sometimes, if pets are left inside the apartment for long without letting some fresh air in, and odor will start to spread.

7. Renovation costs

After a tenant with pets moves out, the landlord is left with the burden of restoring the house to its original state. Dogs running across the house might cause damage to the flooring of the house and the floorboards might need replacing.

When pets pee on the carpeting, it might leave stains no matter how well cleaning is done. This will also mean that the landlord needs to replace the carpeting.

If the breed of cat or dog that you keep experiences heavy shedding, some of these hairs will get stuck in the carpet and get into the vents. Dog hairs also stick to the grease on elevator pulleys. This will give the landlord another expense and more reason to declare the apartment building a pet-free zone.

Why some apartments allow pets

Some apartments allow pets since it is in their best interests. Here are a couple of reasons why this is so:

  • Allowing pets on the property gives the landlord a larger group of prospective tenants to choose from.
  • Pet owners are more likely to sign for longer leases and renew them. This is because once they find an apartment that allows pets, it might be difficult to find another one that does.
  • If the landlord allows pets, there are fewer chances of tenants sneaking pets into the apartment. This usually causes losses that more often than not, will be paid for out of the landlord’s pocket.

What are the best pets for apartments?

In some cases, your landlord will allow pets but there will be a catch. Some will specify which pets are allowed in the building, how many pets per person, and some might also give specific breeds that are allowed.

If you plan on getting a pet in an apartment, here are a couple of options you can consider:

  • House cats. They can stay in the house comfortably and take up small spaces. Ensure your kitty litter box is always clean and ready to use to prevent the cat from going around the house.
  • Fish. Having a fish will help calm you down and they are low maintenance.
  • Rodents. Gerbils and hamsters enjoy staying in cages and do not take up a lot of space. Since their cages have running wheels in them, there is no need to take them out for exercise.
  •  Small dogs. They take up less space and won’t be as loud when they walk, so they won’t be a nuisance to your downstairs neighbor. You will need to take them for walks every day. 

Apart from size, you also need to consider the dog’s temperament. Some dogs get excited and need lots of space to let out some of that energy. Aggressive dogs will not sit well with your fellow tenants. Also, look for a quiet breed. Dogs that bark a lot will irritate your neighbors and this might get you warnings.

Some of the breeds that stay well in apartments are pugs, French bulldogs, Boston terriers, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

What to do if you already have a pet?

Here are some of the steps you can take if you already own a pet and the apartment you want to move into has a restriction:

  • Offer to pay extra. Since most landlords’ concern is the damages to the unit, you can offer to pay extra in your security deposit and rent to cover any damages that might happen during your lease.
  • Have your landlord meet your pet and observe it for a while. If he sees that your dog is indeed a good boy, they might let you keep it.
  • Find an apartment that allows pets. This option would make your life and your pet’s a lot easier. When in the market for an apartment, strictly look for those that allow pets or inform your real estate agent about it.

Pets are amazing companions, but, understandably, some landlords might not want them in their buildings. If you are lucky, you will find a unit that suits you and your furry friends.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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