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Pet Friendly Housing:
Resources and Tips

Each year millions of pets enter animal shelters. One of the most frequently cited reasons for pet relinquishment is a housing, moving or landlord issue.

A recent Pet Inclusive Housing Initiative Report found 76% of rental properties say their rentals are pet friendly but only 8% are free of costly pet fees or restrictive policies such as weight limits. People living in low income neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by these pet fees and other restrictions.

 Asking people to choose between safe housing and keeping their pets is a decision no one should have to make. To keep pets in their homes, animal welfare organizations assert on one crucial point:  When families are ripped apart, both humans and pets experience detrimental effects on their physical and emotional well being.

One of the top reasons for pet surrender is eviction. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will result in an increase of evictions, and displaced pets. We need to call attention to this issue and work collectively to find an effective solution. We believe that people in stable housing is a parallel to pets in stable housing. Thus, we believe that raising awareness for this issue aligns with our purpose.

Tips to Finding Pet Friendly Housing

Alarm Clock

Give Yourself Time

It can take several weeks to find a home that will allow your pet. Plan ahead.  Be resourceful and be persistent. Craigslist is a great resource for dog friendly housing ads. You may want to consider placing a ‘Housing Wanted’ ad on Craigslist.

Family with Pets

Interviewing With

A Landlord

Some landlords are hesitant to allow certain breeds into a housing complex. Attempt to setup a pet ‘interview’ (which is really just showing up and letting the landlord meet your pet). Try putting together a portfolio with reference letters (ex. former landlords, dog trainers), training certificates and photos for landlords who are hesitant to meet a dog.

Apartment Building

Apartment Availability

Here are some suggested breed friendly housing neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area (still call and ask about breed/weight restrictions)

  1. Logan Square

  2. Ravenswood

  3. East Village (Ukrainian Village)

  4. Uptown (around Margate Park)

  5. Old Town

  6. Wicker Park

  7. Humbolt Park

  8. Andersonville

  9. West Town areas

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Great Information
For Chicago Renters With Pets!

Chicago is an incredibly pet-friendly city, with plenty of dog parks and outdoor cafes where you can spend warm summer days.

There are also tons of pet-friendly apartments in Chicago, and some even have extra pet amenities. 

Pet-friendly apartments in Chicago are easy to find through most apartment websites.

Platforms typically include a search function to filter out apartments that won’t accept your pet. However, you should still read each listing carefully. Some landlords may have rules about what types of animals are accepted, and some might prefer cats over dogs, or vice versa.

In Chicago, it’s also common for buildings to impose limits on the weight, breed, and/or quantity of animals.  

Not all apartment listings include information on whether or not pets are accepted. Some might vaguely state that pets are accepted on a case-by-case basis.

In this scenario, you’ll have to reach out for more information.

 

Here are a few pieces of information you can include to improve the chances of your pet being accepted:

  • Basic information: name, breed, age, personality

  • A photo of your pet

  • Veterinarian records showing up-to-date vaccinations, a clean bill of health, and a statement on your pet’s temperament

  • Positive references from past landlords. 

  • Any additional helpful information, such as whether your pet has completed an obedience class or is hypoallergenic and doesn’t shed

 

Chicago laws on emotional support animals and service animals:

If you’re disabled and rely on an emotional support animal (ESA) or service animal, you don’t need to lose sleep over finding a pet-friendly apartment in Chicago. The Fair Housing Act prevents landlords from rejecting you as a tenant because of your animal, even if they have a no pet policy.

The only exception is if the building has four or fewer units and the landlord is also a resident.

Finding an apartment in Chicago that accepts pets shouldn’t be a challenge as long as you know where to look.

Just remember to always be upfront about the fact that you’re planning to move in with a pet. It’s important to start your relationship with a new landlord on the right foot.

Pet Friendly Housing Searches for Illinois
and  Other  Tips and Resources

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Blueground Chicago

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Rentcafe

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Chicago  Hotpads

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Zillow

Blueground rents out fully furnished apartments, many of which accept pets. Just select the “Pets Allowed” filter when searching for apartments. Collection of more than 150 pet-friendly furnished apartments in Chicago.

RentCafe is a nationwide apartment listing service ready to help you find an apartment or house for rent in the safest and easiest way possible. Browse a comprehensive list of available rentals in your area, filtering them according to your preferences and budget, and research the area.  You can also contact properties and submit a rental application online.

Find pet friendly apartments for rent in each US City, State, County, District, Neighborhood & Zip Code.

HotPads amenity filters and keyword searches allow you to target exactly what you're looking for in the Heart of Chicago, and surrounding suburbs. They surface the largest marketplace of apartment rentals to search through, so you can feel confident you'll find the best available rental.  On HotPads they offer the option to select either Cats or Dogs or both within their search filters. This allows users to be more specific in their Pet Friendly apartment search within the zip code of your choice.

Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace dedicated to empowering consumers with data, inspiration and knowledge around the place they call home, and connecting them with the best local professionals who can help.  To find properties that allow pets click more in the drop down menu.

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Rentalads.com

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Anti Cruelty Society

Chicago

Dollars

Anti Cruelty Society Chicago:

Pet Subsidy Program

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"Find dog-friendly apartments in Chicago that welcome pet owners all over the city. The search for Chicago dog-friendly apartments is becoming more popular among Chicago and suburban renters, and landlords have been putting out the welcome mat for apartment seekers bringing along a pet or two in their search for the perfect apartment.  In Chicago, apartments that allow more than two pets and large dog-friendly apartments are becoming more common as more renters are becoming dog owners."

  • Tips for finding rental housing for pet owners

  • important things for pet owners to look for when signing a lease

  • tips for keeping your pet healthy and therefore your landlord happy

  • what to do when your landlord says your pet must leave

  • common scenarios that would cause a landlord to consider evicting you and your pet

  • how to find legal resources in your community if you and your pet are facing eviction

"With pet ownership on the rise, and fewer buildings amenable to animals, the Anti Cruelty Society is launching their Open Door Housing campaign to bridge the housing gap by providing resources for both tenants and landlords. Their goal is to open more doors to Chicago pets so less of them have to come through their doors.  To learn more about the Open Door Housing campaign, or to get involved, email them at 

education@anticruelty.org."  Anti Cruelty also offers two workshops- Urban Dogs and The Good Pet Tenant.  You can learn more about their workshops and how to attend on the website.

This program offers a one-time financial subsidy to Chicago pet owners who need assistance securing move-in fees or in obtaining pet-friendly housing. Their goal is to keep pet owners and their animal companions together, even in difficult times. Qualification is determined on a case-by-case basis and the funds are distributed as they become available. Please note that fulfilling all the requirements does not guarantee program approval and this financial assistance is only available once. This program is currently only available for properties located within Chicago's city limits. Priority will be given to individuals experiencing financial difficulties.

Animal Humane Society

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Humane Society of the US

Michelson Found Animals

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The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)

  • Pet Helpline- speak to a live person or fill out an online contact form

  • important things to consider when looking for a home for you and your pet 

  • a guide to safely moving with your pet

  • find rental housing for you and your pet(s)

  • how to show off your pet's best qualities

  • what to look for when signing a lease

  • tips for keeping your pet healthy (dogs and cats) and your landlord happy

  • what to do when the landlord says your pet must leave

  • navigating common scenarios that would cause your landlord to say your pet must go

  • finding legal resources in your community

Pet Inclusive Housing Initiative

Rental Housing Operator

  • the benefits of offering pet friendly rentals

  • pet inclusive housing report

  • tackling misconceptions

  • attitudes toward pets

  • pet positive pet agreement

  • extensive blog on the latest news, tends, and tips in building more pet friendly communities

Pet Owners​

  • tips aimed at helping your pet become a loved and welcomed part of the community

  • A guide to tenant rights by state.

  • housing & apartment information and resources

  • Illinois State Bar Association guide to landlord-tenant law

  • Housing Action Illinois

  • VA assistance to help avoid eviction

  • Illinois DCFs- housing rights & responsibilities

  • Illinois housing handbook

  • Illinois Attorney General: Landlord and Tenants rights and laws

  • much, much more!!!!!

Judge

Legal Services
Corporation

Low Income Housing Coalition

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ASPCA

LSC is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid organizations in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.

The State & Tribal Coalition seeks to improve and expand the capacity of state housing and homeless coalitions and non-profit organizations.

Serving tribal communities to educate and engage their field, and hold federal, state and local policymakers accountable for solving the housing problems of low-income people.

  • View housing advocacy organizer by state 

Learn how to contact federal, state and local elected leaders

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact people and their pets across the country, animal welfare organizations can provide safety net resources to their communities. 

The ASPCA shared new data showing that more than 19.2 million pets in the US live in households that are not current with their rent or mortgage payments, placing them at risk of eventual eviction or foreclosure as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. This includes more than 9.8 million dogs and cats living in rental homes and 9.4 million dogs and cats living in owned homes.

"As pet lovers ourselves, we understand how important it is to find pet friendly apartment options when you're leasing with pets. Whether you have a dog, cat, both, or another type of furry friend, at ApartmentHomeLiving.com it's quick and easy to search for the apartments with pets allowed in each city across the nation. To help you easily find the perfect place, here is a list of Top Pet Friendly apartment searches in popular cities on ApartmentHomeLiving.com."

Tips for renters and how to find rental assistance.

Search pet friendly housing for rent near you.

Housing Tips and Resources
for Pet Owners with Bully Breeds

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BadRap

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Petfinder

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It's A Pittie Rescue

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My Pitbull Is Family

  • Info about Renting With Your Dog

  • Written by landlords- tried and true strategies for finding a home

  • "selling yourself and your dog"- strategy is everything

  • advice from both landlords and renters

  • How to find pit bull friendly housing

  • resources, articles and websites for finding pit bull friendly housing

  • tips to renting with big dogs (and pit bulls)

  • pet friendly housing searches

  • insurance providers that don't discriminate by breed

  • pet proofing your home

  • national dog inclusive rental database

  • lots of other resources for finding housing for you and your pitbull

  • how to get involved and advocate for banning BSL

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Your  Dog    Is A Member of the Family (PERIOD!)
Resources and Tips to Find Housing for Discriminated Breeds

What are breed restrictions?  

Breed restrictions are just what they sound like: Certain dog breeds and their mixes are not permitted to live in certain buildings, houses and apartments. That means that even if your dog is a mix — he/she may not make the cut, depending on the various dog breeds in his/her mix.  Breed restrictions came about to protect people from what some consider “dangerous" or aggressive dog breeds — and unfortunately especially the bully breeds.  If you're unsure of your dog's breed, get a DNA test done! It is tough to identify a breed or breed mix visually. Your pup may look like a pit bull without having any pit in them at all. Another common factor in breed restrictions is the weight of your dog.  

 

Why do apartments have breed restrictions?

  1. Legislation: Some cities and counties have enacted breed-specific legislation that can ban breeds from even entering the city or county limits

  2. Insurance companies: Many insurance companies have blacklists that the buildings or apartments they insure must abide by.  There are insurance companies that do not discriminate against certain breeds.  See our list below.

  3. Landlord's choice: Breed restrictions are the decision of the building's landlord or management company

Each apartment community will probably maintain its own list of breed restrictions, but here's a look at the most common breeds discriminated against: (you can read more about each breed by clicking on it)

Mixes of these breeds may also be restricted in some communities. Check with the property manager or leasing agent if you have any questions.

If your dog is not welcome right away, there are a couple of things you still might be able to do to persuade your landlord into giving your beloved furry family member a chance.

We've outlined some tips for you below!

Before you begin the process of finding a new home — it's important to understand what breed restrictions are and how they can impact your ability to rent with a dog. 

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1.) Request A Pet Interview

If the breed restrictions are in place by a landlord (not insurance) there may still be hope!  Ask the landlord if he or she is willing to do a doggie interview during which he or she can meet and interact with your dog.  Talk about your pet being part of the family — especially the role they play as a family member. Discuss your understanding and good track record of keeping your past properties clean and well-maintained, despite your dog(s). Offer additional money on your non-refundable pet deposit.

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2.) Create A Dog Resume

Next time you apply for an apartment, come prepared. Put together a pet resume for Fido with pictures, vet records and any other information you have. You can even bring along a video to show the landlord. Who will be able to resist those puppy dog eyes?

 

Apartment Guide has a simple tool that will let you build a printable pet resume for your animals.

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3.) Provide References

Your future landlord might not always want to meet your pet right off the bat, especially if they have a fear related to certain dog breeds.

 

If this is the case, ask your vet, groomer, pet sitter/boarding facility or friends and family to write letters of reference for your furry friend.

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4.) Gather All Your Vet Records

Gather up and provide proof of your pet's medical record.  Pets should be up to date with the following:

  • Vaccines- at the minimum rabies and distemper (dhpp).  Make sure you have a copy of the rabies certificate and vaccine history.

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Make a video of your pet showing he/she as part of the family. If possible, try to include shots of interactions with children, other pets and elderly people. This might build trust between your potential landlord and your pet.

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We've all heard the expression that “money talks." You might be able to offer your landlord a little more security with the promise of extra monthly rent for your pup.

6.) Offer to Pay Pet Rent

5.) Create A Video

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Many landlords will want you to have your own kind of Renters' Insurance regardless of your pets, but in this case, try taking it a step further. Offer to secure a policy that covers your pets and has a liability policy that covers them of $300,000 — listing the landlord as an additional insured member.

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It might be tempting to lie on your application about your pets, but lying is the worst thing you can do. If a landlord discovers you've been dishonest about your pet(s), they can potentially evict you — and living on the street is not an option.

Take Breed Restrictions Seriously!
Never Lie on An Application!

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Many landlords will want you to have your own kind of Renters' Insurance regardless of your pets, but in this case, try taking it a step further. Offer to secure a policy that covers your pets and has a liability policy that covers them of $300,000 — listing the landlord as an additional insured member.

7.)  Secure Renter's Insurance

7.)  Secure Renter's Insurance

Let's Put An End to Breed Restrictive Insurance  Practice In Illinois

  • If your dog is well-behaved, there is no reason that an insurance company should arbitrarily deny or cancel your homeowner's or renter's coverage.

  • Currently, responsible pet owners of particular breeds or mixes of dogs are charged extra premiums, denied insurance coverage, or can have their policy canceled by their insurance company. These arbitrary decisions are all based upon what breed the dog APPEARS to be, not the dog's behavior.

  • The practice of using breed as a predictor of risk is unsupported by reliable data.

  • Consumers should not have to be underinsured, uninsured, or be forced to give up their dogs to have affordable renters or homeowner’s insurance.

  • Why is this important?

  • There is a wide range of dogs falling within the category of “risk” breeds according to some insurance companies including Boxers, Giant Schnauzers, German Shepherds, Chows, Great Danes, Alaskan Malamutes, American Staffordshire Terriers, Akitas, Cane Corsos, American Bulldogs, Belgian Malinois, Keeshonds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Ovtcharkas, Siberian Huskies, Dobermans, Pit Bulls, Dalmatians, Rottweilers, Australian Cattle dogs and more.

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners [NAIC] should protect pet-owning consumers.

  • Insurance companies should focus on the behavior of the dog.

  • This is important because dogs are viewed by the vast majority of Americans as part of the family, and the ability for people to keep families together should be protected.

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners [NAIC] should protect pet-owning consumers.

  • Insurance companies should focus on the behavior of the dog.

  • This is important because dogs are viewed by the vast majority of Americans as part of the family, and the ability for people to keep families together should be protected.

  • Breed-restrictive insurance practices can force responsible pet owners to give up their pets and increase the number of pets in shelters.

  • The likelihood a dog will bite is based on many factors such as socialization of the dog, obedience training, supervision provided by the owner, and how the victim interacts with the dog.

  • It has not been proven by scientific evidence that aggressive behavior is present in any particular breed of dog. Insurance companies that want to reduce risk should focus solely on behavior of the dog and the behavior of the owner.

Insurance Companies Who
Don't  Discriminate By Breed

State Farm

State Farm determines risk based on a dog's bite history rather than breed. Thus, State Farm does not exclude insuring households solely based on breed.

Read "Insuring the Underdog".  More about State Farm's decision. not to discriminate against breeds.

Chubb Insurance

Farmers Insurance

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