Dear PoPville – Dog Friendly Apartments?

Photo by PoPville flickr user clif_burns

“Dear PoPville,

My boyfriend and I are looking into renting a place soon but we also want to adopt a dog. It looks like most places are not dog friendly or at least charge 500-600 to have a dog on their property. Where are good places in DC to live as a dog owner? Thanks so much!”

58 Comment

  • Can’t speak for other areas, but a good amount of buildings in the Glover Park area allow dogs and charge minimal / no fee for pets.

    • Definitely Glover Park.

      • I live in Glover and have two dogs. Technically dogs aren’t allowed in my apartment, but the management company is so hands off (and everyone else in the building has them) so it doesn’t really matter. If you don’t already have a dog though this could be a problem since rescues typically call your landlord to make sure it’s okay. Either way, tons of dogs in GP. I’ve also lived in 4 different apartments in DC and never had a problem with it–I found most landlords very open to dogs and never had to pay any extra. I just found them on craigslist. Try padmapper or zillow too.

    • Fiance and I live in Cathedral Heights with our two medium-sized dogs and cat; everyone in the building and the neighborhood has at least one dog. Restaurants are very animal friendly too. Our building had a refundable deposit that our manager waived, and I know there are a lot of other buildings that allow pets.

      My suggestion would be to look at smaller, boutique buildings, especially older ones, or rentals from an owner rather than a management company.

  • I’ve found it best to rent directly from an owner (condo building, row house, etc.) rather than a large apartment complex. They tend to be a little more lenient with pets. For what it’s worth though, I see a constant stream of dogs going in and out of the Allegro in Columbia Heights.

    • I concur. I rented a “no pets” apartment (half of a rowhouse) with my two cats, because I made an impression of maturity and responsibility on the owner. He said he’d rather have grown-up me + cats, than a couple of college kids with no pets.

    • Agreed about renting directly from a reasonable owner. Although you have to cast a wider net to find them (as opposed to targeting a larger complex, which, when they allow pets, seem to usually charge a nonrefundable deposit and/or pet rent).

    • I used to live at the Allegro a few years ago. Then it was $50/month extra.

    • As a small-time landlord, I always advertise “no pets,” bc that’s my preference, all things being equal. Plus, I fear that if I said “pets OK,” I’d be flooded with people who wouldn’t understand my inherent trepidation and baseline preference not to have a pet. But rarely are all other things equal. I ultimately have never rented to a tenant with a pet, but I’m increasingly open to it, for exactly the reasons above (a solid tenant based on rental history and all the other good indicators in place). So if you feel you objectively present rock-solid credentials as a tenant but have a dog, I wouldn’t shy away from inquiring about “no pets” apartment listings. Just be open and forthright about it when you make initial contact and see where you go.

      But I will charge a non-refundable pet fee of several hundred dollars if I ever cross that bridge, so I suppose I’m confused about why the OP thinks $500 is excessive. The reason is (or should be) pretty understandable: My core concern in selecting tenants is to minimize my risk – I am, after all, entering a long-term and valuable contract with essentially a stranger, who will have a ton of leverage over me the second we sign the lease. I can do a fair amount of due diligence on a prospective tenant in that regard. Past landlords, verifying employment/income, and getting a credit report to know what sort of priority paying rent will get out of any given applicant. I cannot do any of that on your dog. And I find owners’ representations about their own pets to be fundamentally biased in their own favor. The fee at least hedges my bets if you have a chewer, carpet-peer, etc.. Given the total value of the average 2BR lease in this town (assume $2500/mo – which is low – x12 months = $30,000), $500 as an insurance policy for the landlord really isn’t that much.

      • Same here. I always list “no pets”, but I would most likely consider allowing it for the right person. I would absolutely charge a non-refundable deposit to cover the extra cost of cleaning that would need to be done when the person moves out.

      • I’m a landlord who allows pets. My tenants have 1 dog, and have been in the unit for almost 3yrs. I did not charge an additional pet fee. $500 nonrefundable fee is insane. If the dog does no damage, why do you get to keep an extra $500 on top of the profit from renting? I rent with EVOLVE DC who only charged an additional $100 refundable pet deposit over the 1 month deposit. Yes, you can do due diligence on a dog. Checking vet records and getting references from former roommates or the management company. If they received a full deposit back from the company, the dog didn’t damage the place, for example. I also made a rule they couldn’t use the ground for the dog’s toilet to minimize that sort of damage. $2500 should easily cover any damages by the dog. My own dog chewed on a window sill. It cost $100-150 to fix.

        • It’s your property, so it’s your policy and risk acceptance that matters, but I don’t think insane is the right word here. As I said, I haven’t done it, but if I did, the rationale for a non-refundable, additional pet fee is pretty straightforward: the security deposit I charge is something that I have to include at the outset in my listing, so would-be tenants know my basic terms. But that is a deposit premised on an assumption of two or less (human) tenants who have been subject to my due diligence. I could get it all wrong and wind up with deadbeats or unrepentant party animals who trash the place, so the security deposit is my hedge against a failure in my due diligence. A dog or a cat is an additional risk on top of that, for which I can do no real due diligence (and your suggestion of calling the vet or former roommates is pretty bizarre — (a) that’s extra labor on my part, if I can get them even to take my calls, (b) why would a vet have a basis to comment on how an animal acts/lives at home, in probably 95% of cases, and (c) have you ever met someone who is honest about a friend’s dog or child?), so why wouldn’t I increase my security by some amount? If one month’s deposit is what I’ve determined I need to feel secure in my selection for two humans, and additional $500 for a potentially wild card animal, which certainly will both increase the normal wear-and-tear during the tenancy and require additional cleaning duties upon the end of lease, really seems to me quite rational. The whole point is that, at the outset, you just can’t know, so you have to protect yourself.

          • No, “insane” is absolutely the right word. If my dogs do damage to the apartment, take it out of my security deposit. You shouldn’t get an extra $500 because of it.

          • The interesting thing is that, in the landlord-tenant relationship, it’s the guy who owns the property that gets to call the shots on the rental terms in the first instance. There are plenty of tenants in this town who don’t come with a dog. Your presumption that you should be treated as if there is no difference from the landlord’s/risk management perspective between (1) you and (2) you + dog is off-base. But maybe you’ll find (or are yourself) a landlord who thinks differently than me on that point.

          • no bdawg – insane is thinking that your pet won’t cause any damage at all. they all do – even the “good” ones. all of them.

      • Why wouldn’t the security deposit cover the cost of any dog-related repairs or clean up? Do you charge an extra fee for kids, who could easily do similar damage?

  • If you can afford it, City Market at O accommodates (one might even say encourages) dogs. They have a dog run on the roof, along with a dog grooming station. If I’m not mistaken, they even host doggie happy hours.

  • Allegro on 14th Street in Columbia Heights seems to have a human : dog ratio of about 1 : 1. Don’t know about their fees. I do know that it is a youthful crowd living there.

    • “a youthful crowd” or, in other words, AU, GW, and Georgetown dorms 2.0. From what I’ve heard from those that have lived there, the walls and floors are pretty thin, so you’d definitely want to stick to the top floor.

      • I’ve lived in the Allegro for a year and a half and would highly recommend it. I’ve never had any issues with noise, and I live on the bottom floor.

  • Capital East at Maryland & 9th, NE allows dogs, and doesn’t have weight restrictions. It’s not the greatest building you’ll find (I used to live there), but at least there’s no non-refundable pet deposit. They do charge an additional $50 per month on your rent, though.

    • So it’s a non-refundable deposit spread out over the length of your lease…

    • It’s illegal to take more than one month’s rent for deposit in DC even if they say it’s for a pet.

      • Okay?

      • It may be called a deposit, but it doesn’t count as such because they’re never refundable. These are all just additional fees – at many places, it’s $300-600.

      • This is actually the exact reason landlords generally charge a pet *fee* rather than a pet *deposit*, at least in DC. If your security deposit is already equal to one month’s rent, they can’t hold an additional pet deposit, so they end up just making it non-refundable.

  • harvard hall.

    • +1 I live at Harvard. There was a minimal one time pet fee and they just build a dog run in the front of the building.

  • Any Bozzuto Group Building in Wasington DC. I live in a Shaw one, but the O Street Market and the Elevation are new and also offer a pet friendly building. They each have a dog run on the roof.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      Bozzuto has pretty strict breed restrictions and requires cats to be declawed (called “detoed” and illegal in Europe). My cats are not and they never checked them, just saying.

    • anonymouse_dianne

      Bozzuto has extreme breed restrictions. Cats must be “declawed”. Mine aren’t and they never checked but FYI.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    Union Row Flats and Warehouse (2125 14th st) has no breed restrictions and no number restriction. We have pit bulls, bulldogs, huskies, etc. which are “banned” elsewhere. My Savannah is a hybrid, which are legal in DC but restricted in New York for example.

  • I have always found better luck renting a row home or a sectioned off row home as opposed being in an apartment building. I currently live in a Eckington right north of the NOMA metro and a lot of the homes around here have HUGE yards.

  • Downtown in Chinatown/Mt. Vernon Triangle area. Several apartment/condo buildings that allow dogs. Reference K St NW and 5th St NW area. I concur with another poster about renting from a condo owner. Definitely the way to go. Haven’t experienced any additional fees or problems and have lived in my place for 3 years. Check with the buildings. Lots of units up for rental right now.

  • Jenkins Row near Capitol Hill has plenty of condos available for rent, and many allow pets.

  • Rent part of a rowhouse from an owner, not through a management company. We rent our English basement apartment and allow pets but noticed that the big management company in our neighborhood will not allow pets, even when they are managing apartments that are in owner-occupied homes.

    Also, Craigslist will let you filter searches for dog friendly places. You might want to tell the owners when you are negotiating the rent, etc, that you might get a dog in the future, just so you know what the terms would be. For us, we charged a flat fee at the outset and did not increase the rent.

  • My husband and I live in the Kalorama neighborhood and our building is VERY lax on pets (they only have breed restrictions). We were able to move in with our cat and dog with no extra deposit (or fee if you go by Webster’s definition) or monthly rent increases. We’ve had a couple of people move out recently so there are openings to our building. It’s located on Kalorama Road, between Connecticut and 20th Street. It’s a pretty quiet street yet it’s close to DuPont Circle and Adams Morgan. Our building doesn’t have a name but if you look online at Scott Properties you’ll be able to find it. Good luck!

  • This place has tons of dogs – Although, there is a disclosure: Breed restrictions, additional deposits and pet rents may apply. Contact the property for details.

  • If you’re willing to be further north in Takoma DC, Elevation 314 is dog friendly and so is the Gables. I’d recommend Elevation 314, as I live in another one of the management company’s building and they are great.

  • I second the recs to look for people renting out their own condo units. The small buildings directly across from the Cathedral on Wisconsin are so dog-friendly they have their own dog park, so check for rentals by owner there. A friend is renting there now with her BIG dog. McLean Gardens is also insanely dog-friendly and there’s a pretty steady flow of condo units coming available to rent. Dog park right in the complex there, too. If you can stand to venture just outside the District, Falkland Chase just over the line in Silver Spring is pet-friendly, and many of the new apartment buildings along EW Hwy between Georgia and the NOAA building seem to positively encourage dogs. Those are an easy walk to the SS Metro and convenient to a slew of restaurants etc.

  • I don’t know what Capitol View on 14th is doing now with new tenants, but when I moved in with my 2 dogs, I didn’t put down a deposit or pay a monthly pet fee for the 1st year. I now pay $50 a month for the dogs. And you’re down the street from Meridian Hill Park.

  • I am a pet-friendly landlord in Bloomingdale. Have never charged a one-time, nonrefundable fee; any damages incurred as a result of petss would be deducted from regular (one-month’s rent) security deposit. I have not had to go down that path, though, due to proper tenant screening and mutual respect among all parties. See also: treat others as you would like to be treated (i.e. not nickeled and dimed).

    Will have a street-level basement (1/1 unit) available in September for anyone interested. Also will have a 5/3.5 ready in October (being renovated over the next couple months). Would welcome all dog owners as tenants!

  • Washington House at 16th and V NW.

  • We’re currently looking for good tenants for our 2BR/2.5BA row house in NoMA/H Street… As dog-owners ourselves, who used to find it difficult to get a good/reasonable pet-friendly apt, we are paying it forward and renting our place pet-friendly with no extra pet fees/deposit. Check out our listing here:

  • Park Triangle on 14th and Kenyon. It is $400 up front and $30 per month but it’s a very dog friendly building.

  • The Shawmut (a W.C. Smith building) in Adams Morgan. No pet fee, and small security deposit. So many dogs, and everyone is super friendly. The building manager and super live on-site and are very responsive. I can’t say enough good things about this place. This is my first experience renting in DC, and while the space is small and price to me is high (coming from a smaller city), it was worth it as I have a few animals.

Comments are closed.