the pet-friendly housing problem.

We’re on our fourth straight day of cloudy weather here in Chicago. When I, the palest person you’ll meet, say I miss the sun, you know it’s serious. But we’re not here to talk about the weather, I think we’re beyond that at this point, so let’s move on. I’ve gotten a lot of questions lately about pet-friendly housing in Chicago, and how to find it.

Pet-friendly can mean many things to many people. Some people are simply looking for a landlord that will accept their small dog or cat while others are looking to live in buildings with zero restrictions of breed or size. When Chris and I were looking to buy a place, we knew we wanted a building that accepted all animals. Luckily, the condo we fell in love with allows pets of any size, breed, and count. Meaning I could definitely add more animals to my zoo but I digress…

Between the Anti-Cruelty Society and Chicago Animal Care and Control, approximately 7,200 pets were surrendered by their owners in 2017. According to the Anti-Cruelty Society, “moving” was the top reason that animals came to the shelter. Landlord issues ranked fourth out of 29 reasons for relinquishment. The landlord issues that people noted were property damage, pet nuisance, behavior issues, change in building policy, neighbor complaints, breed stereotypes, insurance restrictions and liability concerns among others.

Finding Pet-friendly housing in Chicago isn’t easy, especially in the rental market. As of Monday at 10:15 p.m. there were 15,397 “pet-friendly” apartments in Chicago out of 25,388 listings on Trulia. I clicked on 15 of the apartments and about half had restrictions on size and species. My hunch is that if I called the ones that welcome dogs of any size, some of them would have breed restrictions. In a 2005 study, the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare found that only 9% of rentals allow any kind of pet without restrictions.

The pet-friendly housing problem | Rescue in Style

According to CNN, Chicago is the sixth most pet-friendly rental market. That slightly terrifies me. If we’re supposedly one of the easiest cities to find a rental, what does the rest of the country look like? A quick google search led me to this article about Denver and this piece about the San Francisco, ranking third and first respectively. The San Francisco SPCA receives 25% of its intakes from people claiming landlord issues.

Landlords want to protect their investment and eliminate any risk all-together. What some landlords don’t realize is they could be leaving money on the table. With 68% of households owning a pet, the majority of people are looking for housing to accommodate their four-legged companion. Since finding such housing can be difficult, landlords who allow pets might be able to charge slightly more for the perk. Plus, the tenant is more likely to stay in that housing year after year since finding a new place is difficult.

Buildings that have a no-pet policy could also see a rise in their resale value if they allowed pets. Although it can be hard for a building to transition to welcoming pets, there are ways to start. Having pet-friendly floors is a great way to allow individuals to choose if they’re comfortable with pets. Additionally, pet-friendly elevators help residents with fears to avoid pets altogether.

Pet-friendly housing problem | Rescue in Style

While these are all viable solutions, it’s going to take time for the market to change. In the meantime, there are plenty of websites out there to help individuals looking for pet-friendly housing. Zillow and Hotpads are both nationwide apartment search websites with pet filters you can apply. If you’re living in Chicago, Apartment People and Domu also have similar features available.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, housing issues are the number one reason animals are given up to shelters. In Chicago, owner surrenders make up approximately 50% of ACS intakes and 30% of CACC intakes. If there was more access to pet-friendly housing, we could significantly reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters. Keeping pets in their loving homes would be a win for everyone.


The pet-friendly housing problem | Rescue in Style

Rocky – This beautiful blue pit enjoys long walks on the beach or anywhere that doesn’t have trees. He absolutely loves dogs and people but trees are his arch nemesis. Don’t ask him why it’s just a thing okay?? He’s doing so well on his new leash and gentle lead and knows his basic commands. He just wants to be a lap dog in his forever home! For all the details on this hunk, click here.

Gentle Pit tee!  "Rescue Love" - Rescue in Style

Jelly – Jelly came to Chicago Canine Rescue when a family discovered their son was allergic to her. She’s a happy young puppy just wanting to learn how to dog. She’d do great in almost any family willing to teach her all the tricks. To find out if Jelly is your soulmate, click here.


Gentle Pit tee!  "Rescue Love" - Rescue in Style

Another Gentle Pit tee! This one says “Rescue Love” and it’s perfect for those summer vibes. I’m a sucker for a good crop top and this one is a new favorite. It’s soft and goes perfectly with any bralet. If I was into the whole Lollapalooza thing, this is what I’d wear. Any purchase you make through the Gentle Pit will be donated back to Chicago rescues. You can even pick which pup you want to support! I paired the tank with this skirt and some sandals. Shop the tee above and look below!

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All photos: Margaret Rajic

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