As of 2018, 68% of all U.S. households owned pets, of which 48% were dog-owners and 38% were cat-owners, according to the American Pet Products Association. It seems that some landlords, though, haven’t caught up with the news that so many Americans own pets. Finding pet-friendly apartments in San Francisco is more than challenging.

The San Francisco rental market is highly competitive. Rents have skyrocketed due to a large number of very well-paid tech workers moving into the city. This has created a landlord’s market, which means that landlords can be picky.Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.If you look at listings, though, it might seem that many landlords offer pet-friendly apartments in San Francisco. When it comes down to it, though, landlords will generally choose a tenant without a pet. Unfortunately, the lack of housing for pet owners has led to many having to abandon their pets.

Of course, San Francisco isn’t the only culprit. Finding pet-friendly apartments in New York is just as challenging. However, the good news is that it isn’t impossible to find an apartment for you and your pet. You just have to be patient, determined, and knowledgeable.


Be Aware of the Law

Learning about the law governing pets and rentals is important for your apartment hunt and while leasing. At the very least, you won’t be caught off-guard and will be able to counter any landlord if they make erroneous statements.

Landlords can impose conditions

Californian law states that landlords can refuse to accept pets in their properties. Even if they do allow pets, the law permits them to enforce restrictions regarding the size and type of pet.

In other words, a landlord is within their rights to accept a French Bulldog and, simultaneously, say no to a Golden Retriever. Or they can say yes to a cat and not to a dog, even if your dog is the same size as a cat.

pet-friendly apartments San Francisco and a casual man hugging two dogs on a couch

A landlord can impose conditions on species, breed, and even weight. They cannot, however, require a pet-owner to declaw or devocalize their pet. These procedures are irreversible and require surgery, making it illegal for a landlord to demand them of a tenant.  Your search will, therefore, be a little more complicated as not all pet-friendly apartments in San Francisco will accept your pet.

Landlords have the right to charge more

Landlords can also charge an additional security deposit for your pet, within reason. Thus, they can charge you two months’ rent as a security deposit instead of one. If the apartment is furnished, they can charge up to three months’ worth of rent.

Note that the landlord is not permitted to make the security deposit non-refundable. If your pet did $100 worth of damage, and you paid a security deposit of $4,000, the landlord must pay you back $3,900.

The law may limit how much a landlord can charge as a security deposit, but they are allowed to charge rent for your pet. For example, a landlord might charge a tenant without a pet $2,000 per month but charge you $2,150 because you own a pet.

Clearly, you’ll have to pay for the privilege of living in some of the pet-friendly apartments in San Francisco. This can be painful in a city with such a high cost of living.

Landlords can force your pet out

A landlord also has the right to revoke permission. Usually, a landlord who accepts pets has to apply the same rules to everyone. If they accept dogs up to 70 pounds, for example, they can’t tell you they won’t accept your 55-pound pooch for no reason.

If you prove yourself to be irresponsible, though, and your dog becomes a nuisance, then the landlord can force you to get rid of him. Thus, not cleaning up after your dog, allowing him to bark incessantly, or letting him scare tenants will be enough for the landlord to force your dog out.

Landlords must allow service animals

The one situation in which a landlord has little to no say, legally speaking, is with service animals. If you get a pet, even if your lease says you aren’t allowed one, the landlord can evict you. However, due to the Federal Fair Housing Act, if the pet is a service animal, that supersedes the landlord’s no-pet policy.

However, for your pet to be considered a service animal, they need to perform tasks for you every day. Or they need to help you with an emotional disability you can prove you have.

Pet-friendly apartments San Francisco and man with a probing cane holding a seeing-eye dog

So, if you are a veteran, the landlord can’t deny your support dog for PTSD. Likewise, a landlord can’t say a seeing-eye dog isn’t allowed to live with a blind person. Once again, though, your condition must be formally diagnosed. You can’t just say that your dog helps lower your stress levels.

A landlord can refuse to admit a service animal – or revoke permission – if that animal has poor behavior. So, if he’s been known to bite people, a landlord can say no.


Practice patience

Now that you’re aware of the law, you’re going to have to practice patience to find pet-friendly apartments in San Francisco. Landlords will generally choose a tenant without a pet, even if they advertise their property as being pet-friendly. If you have a larger dog, you’ll have to be even more patient.

Pet-friendly apartments San Francisco and a living room with bay windows

If you’re crunched for time or are just looking for a great, furnished apartment, one excellent solution is to rent from a company like Blueground. This firm offers stunning apartments that are completely furnished, fully equipped, and serviced in some of the best locations in San Francisco. The biggest advantage is that many of them are pet-friendly. Plus, you can easily identify those properties by using the Pets Allowed filter on the company website.


Be prepared

To increase your chances of finding pet-friendly apartments in San Francisco, and actually getting the landlord to accept you and your pet, think like the landlord. Most of them don’t hate pets. Some of them even have their own.

However, many of these landlords have had terrible experiences with tenants who were irresponsible pet owners. Many people aren’t exactly responsible when it comes to pet ownership. Many more balk at the idea of paying for any damages their pet caused. It’s natural for landlords to be wary.

So, if you volunteer to pay an extra security deposit or extra rent for your pet, you’ll have a better chance of the landlord being understanding.

If you then provide proof that your pet is well-behaved and you are a responsible pet owner, you’ll definitely have better luck. Testimonials from previous landlords and neighbors are a great option.

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