How To Get Around Breed Restrictions When Renting

Jan 14th 2024
Unfortunately, many landlords and buildings have a strict pet policy with breed restrictions in place. While it can be tricky, you can circumvent breed restrictions when renting under certain circumstances. Here's what you need to know about renting with a dog that might be considered aggressive, including how to get around pet restrictions.

hash-markTable of Contents

How To Get Around Pet Restrictions When Renting
Why Do Apartments Have Breed Restrictions?
Aggressive Dog Breeds Not Allowed in Apartments
What If My Landlord Has A Ban On Aggressive Dogs?
What Happens If You Bring In A Banned Breed To Your Apartment?
Should You Side Skirt Apartment Pet Policy & Breed Restrictions?
How to Get Around Pet Restrictions Bottom Line

hash-markHow To Get Around Pet Restrictions When Renting

  1. Emotional Support Animal
  2. Service Animals
  3. Try to Sweeten the Deal
  4. Get a Breed Test
  5. Rent From Somewhere Else

1. Emotional Support Animal

The easiest way to get around pet restrictions for an apartment is to register your pet as an emotional support animal. If you have you been diagnosed with depression, PTSD, or a similar issue, you might be able to get your pet registered as an Emotional Support Animal. Legally, a landlord cannot kick you out or discriminate against you for an ESA regardless of species or breed.

2. Service Animals

Another great way to get around apartment breed restrictions when renting is to have your dog registered as a service animal. Any dogs that are registered as service animals and have a doctor's note proving it cannot be legally forced out of a home. There are a lot of sites dedicated to showing you how you can get a note for a service dog.

3. Try to Sweeten the Deal

Sometimes, you can convince landlords and leasing companies to let your dog stay if you get pet insurance. In some cases, you might also be able to get them to agree to your dog if you get your dog professionally trained. 

4. Get a Breed Test

Another easy way to ensure that you get the right to keep your dog is to prove that it's not entirely a banned breed. Legally, this might get you to keep your pet on a technicality. However, it may not always work. This is a good idea to work with if you just want to convince a landlord that the dog is not entirely banned.

5. Rent From Someone Else

The best way to make sure that you keep Fido happy and stay with him is to make sure that you rent from a pet-friendly home. While it may not be the thing you want to hear, this often means that you may have to make a decision between keeping your dog and having a large swath of living options. 

Large rental corporations tend to be leery of dogs that are from typically dangerous breeds. Meanwhile, individual landlords might be more likely to be amenable to pets from breeds that are deemed high-risk.

hash-markWhy Do Apartments Have Breed Restrictions?

There are many reasons why a landlord may ban certain breeds. Landlords are often skittish about dog breeds that have a stigma regarding animal aggression. If someone was already bitten by a specific breed on their property, they might make a preventative move to ensure it doesn't happen again through a breed ban. 

Or, they may just hate certain dog breeds. People can be terrible, and unfortunately, if you have a landlord who is a bit mean about things, you may have this be an issue.

hash-markAggressive Dog Breeds Not Allowed in Apartments

  • Pit Bulls/Staffordshire Terriers
  • Cane Corso
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Rottweilers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Bullmastiffs
  • German Shepherds
  • Dalmatians
  • Bulldogs

Breeds that have a longstanding reputation for aggression are the ones that are most likely to be banned by landlords. Sometimes, a landlord may not just ban certain breeds, but might also have a more general ban on aggressive dogs. 

hash-markWhat If My Landlord Has A Ban On Aggressive Dogs?

An aggressive dog ban is not necessarily the same thing as a breed ban. When many landlords say that they have a ban on aggressive dogs, it could be that they mean the legal term for an aggressive dog in your state.

In many states, an "aggressive dog" is defined as a dog that has already been on record for biting or attacking another person or pet. In some states, aggressive dogs are put down immediately. In others, they just aren't allowed in apartments. 

If you hear that your landlord has an aggressive dog ban, ask what it means. Should your dog have a strike against them, it might be nearly impossible for you to find a place to rent regardless of their pet policy. 

hash-markWhat Happens If You Bring In A Banned Breed To Your Apartment?

This depends on your local laws as well as what's going on with your actual situation. The most common things that can happen include:

  • You might face a hefty fine: It's not unheard of for landlords who discover hidden pets to charge fees as high as $100 a day. This could easily lead to serious problems with your bank account. 
  • Your landlord will probably say that it's either your apartment or the dog: In some cases, there have been particularly vindictive landlords who have even requested that the dog gets put down. This is not legal, but it has happened in the past. 
  • You may also be evicted: In most states, this is a legal ground for lease termination. 

hash-markShould You Side Skirt Apartment Pet Policy & Breed Restrictions?

Dog policies are in place for a reason. Your landlord has an idea of who they want to rent to, and dogs pose a liability for both property damage and potential danger to others. A well-trained dog is rarely ever a problem, but the truth is that there are people out there who are bad dog owners and make it rough for everyone else. 

Even if you can keep Fido with you in your new apartment, you really should think twice about it unless you have a medical reason for the dog to stay with you. Many landlords may find it to be sketchy of you to try to break the rules, which may make them choose another renter over you. 

In some cases, it may also lead them to want to find ways to ask you to leave—even if it is not legal to do so. So before you go for this, think twice.

hash-markHow to Get Around Pet Restrictions Bottom Line

Apartment breed restrictions can be frustrating, but there are ways to get around them, including getting your dog registered as an emotional support animal or offering to pay a bit of extra pet rent. In the worst-case scenario, you'll just have to move on and rent an apartment from someone else. After all, there are plenty of landlords who love pets and welcome all dog breeds without any restrictions.