What to Do if Your Building Doesn’t Allow Pets

Like many people, Sheba Lo of Chatsworth, California, acquired a dog during the pandemic. Lo bought the dog to serve two roles — companion and “emotional support animal” for her 13-year-old daughter. The pair immediately fell in love with cuddly, white Riyo.

What’s the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal? A service dog is trained to accompany a person with a disability and perform specific tasks for them.

Service vs. Emotional Support Dogs

This distinction means the landlord could tell Lo she had to move or find another home for her daughter’s emotional support dog.

“If you think no one will notice your dog, guess again,” says Voda-Hamilton. “Only one person in management needs to see the dog before taking action. The gardener or the maintenance person could report the canine sighting to the office.”

Rent Rules

While some landlords may consider making an exception and allowing your dog, some will not. Often the resistance comes from the worry that the dog will damage property, show bad manners, or cause a nuisance by barking.

If you insist on remaining in your place, try these suggestions:

Power of Pet Persuasion

– Let your landlord get to know your dog. Make an appointment for a meet-and-greet and show off your dog’s behavior and obedience.

– Bring along your dog’s health records, AKC Canine Good Citizen title, Virtual Home Manners title, or other performance, therapy, or conformation certificates. If you’re planning to add to your dog’s list of accomplishments, mention it to the landlord.

When all efforts fail, look for a new apartment. Pet-friendly does not automatically translate to mean that all pets are welcome. It means that the landlord is open to pets, but the animals must meet specific criteria. The requirements could cover the number of pets in your apartment or the types of animals.