Housing Guide 2011: In the Dog House

Finding a new apartment can be especially stressful when you are responsible for finding a place that’s welcoming to you and your cuddly companion.

Most apartments and houses that allow pets require a non-refundable fee that is paid before the move-in date. Some also require leasers to pay a “pet rent” fee in addition to monthly rent. However, many pets are not considered pets at all, so the extra charges do not apply. Animals such as guinea pigs, gerbils, and fish can stay for free, although reptiles sometimes require special consideration. Individual property owners are often willing to discuss the prospect of a dog living with leasers, but it is very important to discuss this possibility before signing a lease or making a deposit.

To facilitate your search, Mac Property Management has check boxes on its website that indicate dog or cat friendly. Within this category, Mac offers a wide range of options, from studios to six-bedroom apartments. They also have a box marked “student friendly” that you can leave unchecked to ward off less domesticated animals.

Regents Park, the luxury high-rise situated on the lakefront, has dog-friendly floors intended specifically for pet owners with dogs up to 70 pounds, with an additional rent increase of $35. Cats are welcome throughout the apartment complex, though they must be declawed and spayed or neutered.

The Nordica Group offers fewer options for non-feline pals. There is no extra fee to keep a cat, although individuals must notify property owners prior to the pet’s arrival. The group owns two apartment buildings that are friendly to all pets. Proprietor Betsy Newton explains, “Those are buildings with smaller apartments, which are just more manageable [in regards to pet occupancy].” A clause in the lease specifies that no parrots are allowed in Nordica’s buildings. “That’s just a holdover from an old lease. Nobody has ever requested a parrot. It’s probably there because they talk and that can be annoying to neighbors.” If that’s the case, it may be necessary to write in a clause about chatty roommates as well.