Apartment Breed Restrictions & How To Get Around Them When Renting

By PropertyClub Team
Jan 17th 2022
Jojo the pitbull is a gentle beast. You've had him for years, and he's part of your family. But unfortunately, the apartment you want to rent has breed restrictions in place. Here's what you need to know about renting with a dog that might be considered aggressive. 

hash-markWhy Do Landlords Ban Certain Dog Breeds?

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-markMost Common Restricted Dog Breeds for 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-markHow To Get Around Breed Restrictions When Renting

While it can be tricky, you can circumvent breed restrictions under certain circumstances. Of course, you'll have to have a good reason, and you'll need to carefully follow the rules. These methods are the best options for you:

Emotional Support Animal

Does Fido help you get up in the morning? Have you been diagnosed with depression, PTSD, or a similar issue? If so, 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.

Service Animals

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.

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. 

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.

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-markIs It Worth Sideskirting The Landlord's Dog Policy?

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.