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April 2, 2013

5 Tips For Finding A Pet-Friendly Apartment

Rachel, a good friend of mine, is moving to Chicago in a few months.  Her Vizsla, Riley, is one of Eko’s oldest pals, so the two of them will no doubt spend this summer romping it up at the beach.  But before the fun can commence there is some

Rachel, a good friend of mine, is moving to Chicago in a few months.  Her Vizsla, Riley, is one of Eko’s oldest pals, so the two of them will no doubt spend this summer romping it up at the beach.  But before the fun can commence there is some important business to attend to – Rachel and Riley need to find a place to live.  As someone who recently had to find a pet-friendly apartment, I know first hand how difficult it can be to find a place that works for both you and your pet.  So for Rachel and for anyone else looking for tips in the future, here are a few important lessons I learned while apartment hunting with Eko.

1. Always sort your searches properly – I initially wasted time looking for apartments because I was sorting listings by price.  But price doesn’t matter if they don’t accept pets! Your search will be much more productive if you know all your results are pet-friendly.  Here are a few different resources I used in Chicago.  Most major areas have similar offerings.

2.  All pet-friendly listings are not created equal – There were a few apartments I really liked that were listed as pet-friendly.  Only later on in the process was I asked the dreaded question, “Oh, and your dog weighs under forty pounds, right?”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, pet-friendly apartment

I told the realtors, “you can fit him in your purse” but they weren’t buying it

In addition to weight limits, some buildings also restrict certain dog breeds.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, pet adventure

How could they turn away this little lap dog?

“Pet-friendly” has a different meaning in every apartment complex, so always make sure you see a full copy of the pet policy before you invest any time visiting.  I could have saved myself a number of headaches in this regard.

3. What’s best for your pet is best for you!  I looked at a few different apartments downtown but I quickly realized that a high rise wouldn’t work well for Eko.  Eko needs at least one good off-leash romp every day to stay sane.  And if he doesn’t stay sane, neither do I (Whether I am sane to begin with is a point of discussion for a later date).  I ended up finding an apartment within walking distance of multiple parks and, best of all, a dog beach.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, pet blog

A happy Eko = A happy Will

4. Don’t forget to check Craigslist – My early efforts at finding and apartment were thwarted by some of the problems listed above.  That’s because all the listings you find through realty sites tend to be similar.  It wasn’t until I looked on Craigslist that I found my current apartment.  One of the benefits of Craigslist is that you can more easily find listings put up by individuals or smaller apartment complexes that don’t show up in many indexes.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask – You will never know if an apartment is pet-friendly or not unless you ask!  Many people who list their apartment on Craigslist don’t think to specify whether pets are allowed.  My apartment wasn’t listed as pet-friendly but thankfully I thought to follow up and ask.

dog friendly chicago

Home sweet home!

It wasn’t easy to find the right apartment, but it was well worth the effort.  Hopefully some of my tips will make things easier for Rachel and anyone else with a dog that is on the hunt for a pet-friendly place to live.  If you have any tips, lessons or suggestions be sure to add them in the comments!

Comments for 5 Tips For Finding A Pet-Friendly Apartment

  1. catchatcaren says:

    Fabulous advice! We live in a condo/apt complex that accepts pets (maximum of 2, no weight requirements)…..my husband already owned the condo when I moved in with my cat…..now we have a cat and a dog. I just tweeted this post and shared on facebook!

  2. Jorie says:

    Great advice, Will! I just moved into a new space in Logan Square with a fenced-in backyard and I am dreaming of adopting a pup of my own this year.

  3. Awesome post, my hubby and I are getting ready to put our house on the market to move out of state and will be looking for an apartment that’s Boomer and Dottie (bog dog) friendly.

  4. How did you get Eko to get in the bag? 😆 We tried that once with Putney and there just weren’t enough biscuits in the house to persuade him it was worth doing!! Love the photos, especially the last one 🙂

  5. emma says:

    Those rental policies are a bit like hotel policies and they really don’t make sense. Smaller dogs tend to be more noisy and jump all over everything, us bigger dogs tend to be more quiet and relaxed, but who asked us dogs…Kids are worse than dogs (noise and damage) and they are allowed so what is going on in this world???

  6. Victoria says:

    my #1 tip – buy a house if you can!

  7. hahaha how cute! you guys are amazing – hanging with you and your dog must be lots of fun!

  8. Marcela says:

    Great info Will:) You and Eko look amazing on that balcony. Is Eko drinking beer?

  9. Zena says:

    Helpful tips not just for apartment hunting but for going on holiday with pets. so often pet friendly isn’t my idea of pet friendly and pets allowed inside are only if they are no bigger than a chihuahua!

  10. Nightshade says:

    Seems like very good advice for anyone looking to rent a home to share with their beloved pet! We decided things would be much easier if we owned our own place, so we bought a house with a very big garden which pretty much solved the problem. But of course not everyone has the means or opportunity to buy a house, and I think a lot of people’ll actually find this post very useful!!

  11. I miss Craigslist so much, it doesn’t work the same in here.
    I would sneak my dog inside, have the landlord take to me housing court, don’t pay rent until he evicts me that way I sabe at least 6 months in rent, yeah my credit would be ruin but still at least 12g I’m saving lol.
    When I started to look for a new place here I would always bring Doggy to the visits, the place where I’m living nos is beyond fantastic, but the girl upstairs (landlord’s daughter) is afraid of dogs, she panics when she sees them, but her mother loves them, she loved Doggy. They were very hesitant to let me move in, after a month the girl asked me if the dog was there, that she never heard him, I was relieved, it was a condition, that if the dog was annoying we would move out, luckily Doggy doesn’t bark. Looking for a nice place where they allow dogs is hard, specially the area I live.
    Eko is pocket size.

  12. Definitely read the fine print in the rental agreements! Our building was fine with pets, but in the teeny tiny print was the bit about needing to ‘carry’ them through any public areas of the building, so hallways, stairwells, elevators, lobby. We moved out of there pretty quick when we decided to get a Lab! Great post – this will help a lot of people 🙂

  13. “you can fit him in your purse” hahahaha ok, that’s only a question of the size of the purse :o) Great Post – THANKS!!!

  14. Clowie says:

    I love the photos – especially the one of Eko in a purse!

  15. Uncle Austin says:

    I wouldnt be letting Eko drink beer until he is 21 in dog years. Whisky and white wine are perfectly o.k. however.

  16. Great informative post Will. I love the photo of Eko in the purse, you may start a new trend for large breeds 😉

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