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Pets Allowed vs. Pet-Friendly – There is a Difference

Pets Allowed vs. Pet-Friendly – There is a Difference

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The terms “pets allowed” and “pet-friendly” may seem similar, but there is really a great deal of difference between the two. As you search for a new home for you and your fur baby, you may feel that the two phrases are interchangeable. Unfortunately, as you learn the difference between the two, you may find that you have to reconsider where you finally settle your paws. You may have already noticed that there are more apartment communities willing to take cats that are open to bringing home a dog. And don’t even get me started on larger breeds like my black Lab, Charlie.

A “Pets Allowed” apartment building means that you simply get to have your pet live with you. On the other hand, if the apartment lets you live with your fuzzy buddy and offers amenities to keep the two of you active and feeling welcome, then it is a “Pet Friendly” community. Even then, there is no solid guarantee that your pet will be allowed on the property.

So, let’s take a couple of minutes to dig a little deeper into the difference between the two and put together a plan to find the fur-ever home.

How Can I Tell if an Apartment Community is “Pet Friendly”?

The greatest reason pet owners seek “Pet Friendly” communities is the additional amenities that are often available on the grounds. So instead of simply coming home at the end of the day for a quick potty and dinner break (for both of you!) and then spending the rest of the evening not moving from the couch as you both watch reruns of “Lassie” or cry through the end of “Old Yeller” together, the Pet-Friendly apartment complex community strives to create a place that is inviting to both of you. Some of the different accommodations focused on pets include:

  1. An on-site dog park or dog run
  2. Lots of green space
  3. Pet daycare
  4. Allows “dog walkers” to access the buildings during work hours.
  5. Pet waste stations located throughout the property.
  6. A pet washing area
  7. Pets welcomed to community events.
  8. Inclusion of pet photos in Social Media posts
  9. Located in a “walkable” area with trails and sidewalks.

Now for the bad news. Even though an apartment community may have all the amenities to be considered pet friendly, there may be restrictions on size, breed, or the number of pets allowed, which could prevent your move-in. These restrictions may be driven by personal experience or insurance policy requirements.

Prepare for Questions and Have Documentation

During the application process, you may meet with the Property Manager or Leasing staff. Make sure you are prepared to handle any questions regarding your furry companion and have any required paperwork available. Some of the questions you may be asked could include:

  1. What type of pet do you have? (Remember, there could be certain breed restrictions for dogs and some properties may not even allow dogs.)
  2. How many pets do you have? (Many apartment communities have limits on how many pets are allowed in the unit.)
  3. Are there any known behavioral or medical issues and what is the current treatment? (Overly anxious dogs who constantly bark, when the owner is absent, could result in a lease violation. Cats marking their territory can cause property damage. Read the pet addendum you will be signing beforehand.)
  4. How well does the animal get along with other pets and other people? (Be truthful, and do not become alarmed if there are muzzle requirements for any aggressive pet behaviors.)
  5. Have you ever had a complaint against your pet? (Past pet complaints may be uncovered during the landlord reference calls.)
  6. Has your pet caused any property damage at your current residence? (Extensive property damage may be considered grounds for denial.)
  7. Do you have up-to-date shot immunization records? (This is very important if there is a dog park on the property.)
  8. Do you have proof of neuter/spay? (Again, very important if there are any areas where your pet may be allowed off-leash.)
  9. If your dog is an ESA or Service Animal, do you have certified documentation? (This is a separate category since Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals are not considered “pets” and fall under different rules.)

What “Pets Allowed” Really Means

Though the interview process for a “Pets Allowed” community may be less extensive than a “Pet Friendly” community, there are likely to be fewer amenities that will make you and your furry companion feel welcomed with open arms. Additionally, there may be more stringent requirements written into the Pet Contract or Pet Addendum. Some of the major differences may include:

  1. Stricter expectations for pet behavior
  2. Less tolerance for things like loud barking or rowdy pets
  3. Limits to how many pets you can have.
  4. The property manager’s right to verify what pets are living with you.
  5. Leash rules
  6. Fines for not picking up pet waste.
  7. The property owner’s right to request the removal of the pet for any reason at any time.

Why Doesn’t Every Apartment Community Welcome Pets?

There are no set reasons why one apartment community will allow cats but not dogs, or place size restrictions on the dogs they do allow, or not allow any animals on the premises at all. Some of the underlying reasons may be due to increases in liability insurance required of the property owner, the perceived damage that a pet can do to a property that would not be covered by the security deposit, or even not wanting to have to deal with the complaints which may occur from non-pet owners.

Even though if the apartment community you may be considering for a new home has a “no pets allowed” rule in place, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Sometimes smaller animals may be permitted, as well as fish, reptiles, and amphibians. You may want to consider getting something smaller and less excitable than a dog.

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