For pet owners, apartment hunting comes with some unique considerations. You’ll need to make sure that your new space works for both you and your furry friend.  

In this article, we’ll dive into the most common concepts addressed in a pet policy for apartments and what to keep in mind when looking for your next pet-friendly abode. 

What is an Apartment Pet Policy?

An apartment pet policy refers to rules for keeping pets in an apartment, typically outlined in your rental agreement. The policy will apply to any current or future pets you have while living in the apartment community. 

Why Are They Important?

Pet policies are important for several reasons and their existence is not meant to inconvenience pet owners. Most property management companies have an apartment pet policy in place to maintain a harmonious environment for human and animal residents alike. 

Purpose of an Apartment Pet Policy

Good pet policies are typically created with the following goals in mind:


  • Minimize potential concerns for pets and residents
  • Maintain a clean, pleasant environment
  • Reduce the risk of pets getting each other sick
  • Ensure all residents and pets are held to the same standards
  • Avoid misunderstandings
  • Foster an environment where all residents feel respected

Common Rules in Pet Policies for Apartments

A pet policy will likely be part of your lease when moving into a new apartment. Be sure to review it thoroughly before signing to avoid future complications. 

Pet Limitations

Many leases specify the type of pets you can have in an apartment. Some communities only permit cats and dogs to live in the home, or do not allow certain exotic animals. They may also limit the number of pets allowed in an apartment. For example, many apartments will limit you to a maximum of two pets. 

Dog Breed Limitations 

Many apartments also have specific breed limitations for dogs, especially for small apartments. It’s important to note that these restrictions aren’t meant to make assumptions or signify judgment towards any dog or owner. They’re intended to serve as a proactive measure to ensure compatibility with the living space. For example, a larger dog’s needs may not be compatible with an apartment lifestyle.

Sometimes, restrictions are influenced by local legislation or the apartment community’s insurance policies, either of which may have specific guidelines regarding pet breeds and sizes.

Health Standards

Requiring proof of vaccinations as part of a pet policy is a proactive measure aimed to reduce the risk of disease transmission and enhance the safety of the community. By ensuring that every pet is up to date on their vaccinations, the risk of transmitting contagious diseases such as rabies or parvovirus is significantly reduced. This is particularly important in a setting where pets share common spaces and are more likely to come into close contact with each other.

Pet Waste Management

A policy requiring pet owners to pick up after their pets outside is essential for maintaining a clean, hygienic and pleasant living environment. Pet waste can be an eye (and nose) sore that could potentially diminish the aesthetics of the community, not to mention a health hazard.

A well-managed apartment community strives to ensure every resident feels respected. Cleaning up after your pet contributes to upholding a positive, neighborly atmosphere and clean shared areas.

Financial Aspects of Apartment Pet Policies

An apartment pet policy will also specify any upfront and ongoing fees associated with having a pet in the space. When signing your lease, be sure to consider how these fees will fit into your rental budget.

Understanding Pet Deposits and Fees

A deposit or fee is often part of the pet rules for apartments that landlords set. A pet fee may refer to a one-time, non-refundable payment, while a pet deposit is a one-time payment that you may be returned to you at the end of your lease, if the apartment remains in good conditionl. These payments are usually used to cover the cost pet-related damages. 

A pet fee could also refer to a monthly payment. In this case, the term may be used interchangeably with “pet rent”. This is an additional payment made along with your rent each month. 

Find Your Furry Friend’s Next Home with Southern Management

Looking at the pet policy for apartments will help you find the right home for you and your furry friend. You deserve an apartment where you both feel comfortable and relaxed. 

Southern Management offers pet-friendly apartments throughout the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas. Reach out today to schedule a tour or learn more about our apartment communities. We can’t wait to welcome you (and your pet) home!