Home Is Where the Bark Is: Dog-Friendly Rentals

One of the questions we get most often here at SWD is, “Where in dog’s name can I live with my pooch?” It’s true: Finding a dog-friendly apartment can be tricky, especially with breed restrictions and pet fees. Luckily, with a little determination, it’s possible to find dog-friendly housing pretty much everywhere, and we’ve gotcha covered.

So where are these canine-friendly properties? And what do they have to offer? Plus, how can we dog lovers be better neighbors? We tapped property-management pros Steven Scott Management and StuartCo for some answers about living with four-legged roommates.

Origin Stories

Sidewalk Dog: When did your properties start accepting pets?

Christie Luttio of Steven Scott: We started accepting them in the late ’80s — when mostly no one else would take them — at Creek Point in St. Paul and Ridgebrook in Brooklyn Park. We did it because of the huge demand for apartments that accept dogs without weight restrictions.

Brianna Wunderlich of StuartCo: Around 1995, when our first townhome community was built. Why? Definitely due to demand, of course. Many of our non-dog-friendly communities have since allowed dogs in at least one building. For example, Highland Ridge recently made the transition.

Popular Pooches

SWD: Are you seeing a trend toward more dog-friendly rentals?

StuartCo: Yes, definitely. Some of our properties allowed one building with dogs, which filled up quickly. For our new communities, the acceptance of dogs is always one of the top questions, and we make sure to accommodate that request if the need is present.

Steven Scott: In the past, we identified dog-friendly properties as communities that have access to green space. Now we have opened up more of our communities (in fact, most are pet-friendly), because our residents know where they want to live and how to find what their dog needs, like access to a park. There is a trend in dog-friendly communities because more and more people are renting as a lifestyle choice — and giving up their pet is just not something they want or need to do.

Puppy Perks

SWD: What amenities should dog lovers look for?

Steven Scott: Whatever is important to their dog. Many of our dog-friendly communities have dog runs, some have grooming stations and usually, the office has treats — that seems to be an important feature for the dogs!

StuartCo: Access to dog parks or trails is such a high priority for our dog owners. Almost half of our communities have a dog park on-site or walking trails right outside their door. Dog lovers should look for the fun added value of a tight-knit community, too — some of our properties have dog-walking clubs. It really helps people get to know their neighbors and develop a strong community!

Location, Location, Location

SWD: Which of your properties are particularly dog-friendly?

Steven Scott: Third North and Brunsfield North Loop — each property has its own dog run. They’re close to Metro Dogs Daycare & Boarding and many other pet-friendly services and businesses in the North Loop area [of Minneapolis]. These properties score 99 on transit score and 88 on walk score. We also have dog-friendly properties in the St. Paul area and throughout the suburbs.

StuartCo: Riverview in St. Paul (new dog park [High Bridge Dog Park] across the street), 430 in Minneapolis (Loring Park directly across the street), The View in New Brighton (overlooking Long Lake, trails galore right next door), Woodstone, The Plaza, Highland Ridge (all three in St. Paul with access to Mississippi River trails directly across the street), Heritage Landing (awesome North Loop location with walk score of 88).

Gold-Star Tenants

SWD: What do property managers look for in dogs and their humans? How do you know if someone is going to be an ideal tenant?

StuartCo: The biggest factor is a resident that is responsible for cleaning up after their dog. At many communities, we’ve participated in the PooPrints [pet-waste management] program to help with this problem. A majority of residents have loved it because it really helps keep the community in tip-top shape on a daily basis.

Steven Scott: Generally I think that they are concerned about the noise from barking and potential damage to property (primarily lawns). We want to give great customer service, which may give the appearance of being punitive because of so many restrictions and rules concerning pets.

Hefty Hounds

SWD: Let’s talk weight restrictions. Do property managers really think a Great Dane is likely to do more damage than a dachshund?

StuartCo: Yes, more often than not it is the case that larger dogs do more damage to the community, whether in the actual apartment, the community areas or even the green space around the properties. [At StuartCo properties, some buildings have a 35-lb. weight restriction.]

Steven Scott: We generally do not have a weight restriction. Some owners and managers are worried about bark being much louder.

SWD: And what about breed restrictions? Is the industry easing up at all on those guidelines?

StuartCo: Not at the moment. We haven’t wavered at all in the almost four years that I’ve been at StuartCo, and I haven’t heard talk of any property-management companies being more lenient with the guidelines. [StuartCo does not allow the following breeds: akita, dogo Argentino, Doberman pinscher,  German shepherd, pit bull terrier, and rottweiler.]

Steven Scott: We are still restrictive breeds that are commonly perceived to be aggressive. [Steven Scott does not allow the following breeds: bulldog, bullmastiff, chow chow, Doberman pinscher, German pinscher, German shepherd, any type of pit bull, presa canario, rottweiler and Staffordshire terrier.]

[Editor’s note: Know of a rental property without breed restrictions? Let us know so we can include them in an upcoming story.]

Feeling the Love

SWD: How can dog lovers be better neighbors to their fellow renters?

Steven Scott: Be courteous of others and clean up after their dogs. In general, we have very responsible pet owners. Unfortunately, it only takes one to ruin it for others.

StuartCo: Like I mentioned, it’s the responsibility factor of cleaning up after their furry family members. Also, the noise factor. If neighbors complain about a noisy pet, be sure to address the problem as soon as possible to avoid an even larger issue. Our teams are wonderful at navigating feedback and making sure to communicate nuisances if they occur due to a pet. We love pets at StuartCo, and we have really made sure to cater to the entire family’s needs: treats in our offices, incentives for participating in the PooPrints program, etc.

— Emily Schmidt

9 thoughts on “Home Is Where the Bark Is: Dog-Friendly Rentals

  1. Michelle Maxwell

    I enjoyed this article up until the “And what about breed restrictions? Is the industry easing up at all on those guidelines?” If you ban specific breeds, then you are NOT dog-friendly. It’s extremely frustrating for responsible owners with loving dogs that happen to fall into the “bully breed” category. We are stigmatized and looked down-upon, all for owning an animal that society perceives to be aggressive. It makes me incredibly sad.

    Reply
    1. Ashley M

      Honestly. I am looking for a nice rental property currently and it is so hard to find a place that allows a pit bull. When I first started my hunt I would get so excited because some properties would say “dog friendly”. Then, they would have breed restrictions? I am still looking, but now knowing most places are not going to accept her. Terribly sad.

      Reply
  2. Amanda Riley

    I second Michelle’s comment. I have a 2 year old Staffordshire Terrier who is in her advanced obedience training class & on her way to Canine Good Citizen and Therapy dog certifications. She is under 40lbs full grown. And, as responsible renters, we have insurance that covers our dog. It is so sad to see so many places allowing dogs (small or large) who could be vicious towards people or other dogs but say a blanket “no” to “bully breeds” because of stereotypes. Why not require proof of vaccination and renters insurance (and even proof of obedience training) prior to renting to ANYONE? Or, perhaps even better, meet the dog before saying no.

    I don’t need to move until July of 2014, but because I know my dog is stigmatized I am going to have to start my apartment search much earlier than most.

    Reply
    1. Claire

      Do you have any suggestions on breed restriction friendly places? I am most likely moving to Minneapolis very soon and I have only found maybe two places that even allow my Doberman.

      Reply
      1. Bri

        We’re trying to add more to our list all the time, but here’s who we are pretty sure will allow your sweetie Dobe (check in with them to confirm first, of course, and let us know if we’ve got someone listed here who shouldn’t be): Soltva, Solhavn, The Copham, Flux, Y Properties, Pioneer Endicott. Good luck, and happy apartment hunting!

        Reply
  3. Cindy Muehlbauer

    As an owner of two show German shepherds I resent any place calling itself dog friendly when it restricts dogs just because of the breed. If anything, you are setting yourself up for a lawsuit…..afterall you did accept that poorly temperamented black lab in just because it was a black lab. Peeves me to no end.

    Reply
  4. Kyle Horton

    “Finding a dog-friendly apartment can be tricky, especially with breed restrictions and pet fees.”

    The article then proceeds to list properties with breed restrictions and pet fees. What gives?

    Reply
    1. Bri

      Fair question, Kyle!

      We wish more pet-friendly apartment buildings would be breed restriction-free, but we don’t have control over that (though we desperately wish we did). In the meantime, we’re in the middle of tracking down a list of no-restriction apartments. We’ve got a lead on a bunch that we’re looking into and verifying, so check back in a couple of weeks to see what we learned. Here’s the link to where the “all breeds welcome” apartments will be listed once we have more of them (it’s a regrettably short list at the moment): https://www.sidewalkdog.com/directory/category.php?id=100

      Reply

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