dog apartment rare like kopi luwak
August 27, 2006 7:59 PM   Subscribe

How can I find a dog apartment in San Francisco?

I currently live in San Francisco, sans dog. My dog is coming to live with me in just over a month. I need to find a place for her, stat, as my current spot is anti-pet. offers very little, the competition-factor is high and most of the neighborhoods where listings can be found are either far away from parks or are simply scary.

Now for the questions:

How did you find your big city dog apartment?

Do you know of any dog-friendly property management companies or apartment brokers?

What are some tactics and strategies I can use with anti-pet landlords? I'm assuming this is negotiated with an increase in rent or a large pet deposit. If the apartment is in $2000/mo range, what would be fair to offer?

Is $2000/mo reasonable for a dog apartment?
posted by cior to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, man -- we went through this in March, and I feel your pain. It's very hard to find a place in the city that will take dogs. We found that some that would take dogs had a weight restriction (30-40 pounds) or weren't really good places for us to have a dog (up on a high floor, no yard or nearby greenspace). I've heard some of this is a result of the Diane Whipple case. We wound up renting a small house out in San Mateo (and got much more for our renting dollar that way). Still, it wasn't easy.

Here are a couple of tips:

Write a pet resume for your dog. Especially since the landlord won't be able to interview the dog in person -- my landlord loved this and I think it really pushed our application over the top. Give references, talk about obedience classes, mention if you crate the dog while you're out. Will you have a dog walker? I could send my resume -- it's about 3-4 pages long.

We found a double security deposit pretty much standard for a dog -- so for a $2,000/month place, expect $3500-4000, plus the first month's rent, to get in to the place.

Remember that there's a lot of competition in general for apartments in the city, so having a pet will put you a tier below non-pet applications. Come to a showing prepared to fill out an application before you leave -- bring all your materials and paperwork -- and offer to write a check ON THE SPOT to guarantee your application will be processed.

Seriously, I really understand what you're going through with this. It's scary to think you won't be able to find a place to live with your dog. Just plan on devoting a lot of time to this, and keep looking. And do consider outside of the city if it's possible. I commute in on the Caltrain and Muni, and it's not that bad...
posted by handful of rain at 8:19 PM on August 27, 2006 [1 favorite]

PS: If you do look in San Mateo, for example, we found a complex out here that prides itself on being very dog friendly. I have to say that was its main selling point, but if you really need something fast while you keep looking for a better option I could try to find the information again.
posted by handful of rain at 8:28 PM on August 27, 2006

Response by poster: I can't consider anything outside of SF, unfortunately. Thanks for the advice re: pet resume. She's got great qualifications, this might help.
posted by cior at 8:31 PM on August 27, 2006

The SFSPCA has some information and listings (though not many).

I saw a dog-friendly group the other day in Duboce Park, with flyers about having meetings to convince SF landlords to become more dog-friendly. It looks like it was SFDOG ; I'd think they might be able to give you some help, too.
posted by occhiblu at 8:40 PM on August 27, 2006

I live in Santa Barbara. It is also a hard-to-find pet friendly housing place.

We had our vet write a letter of recommendation for our dog. We also had the head of HR at our previous dog-friendly office write a letter attesting to the fact that our dog was very good.

Former neighbors too?
posted by k8t at 9:08 PM on August 27, 2006

I would skip places that specifically emphisized NO DOGS in their ads, but besides that I'd just go to the openhouse or whatever, sell myself to the landlord, and then mention "Oh, and I have a well-behaved, older, neutered dog." I'd always offer to give a pet deposit and even a letter of recommendation about the dog!

I've gotten several East Bay (not quite as competative but still pet-unfriendly) apartments that way.
posted by serazin at 9:41 PM on August 27, 2006

I've gotten two leases in the past five years in the Castro neighborhood, both times with a dog. I actually think it's improved a lot here -- I've been renting in SF on and off since 1987 and I think it used to be more anti-pet then (though YMMV). If I were you I would walk around the Castro and upper Market neighborhoods, and also check Craig's List for same. Come walk your dog in Dolores Park on Saturdays and ask people with dogs if they known any places coming up open. I agree with the comment re trying all places that don't explicitly say "No Dogs." With both of the places I rented the listing said "Cats Okay," and nothing about dogs. I got the landlords to say "yes" to one dog and one cat. Just keep trying and don't freak out -- it'll work out. You'll find a place. (Re rents -- my first two bedroom that I rented in December 2002 was $1950; my second two-bedroom that I rented in May/June 2004 was $2000. ) I have never been asked for the huge pet deposit listed above -- always just a few hundred dollars.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 11:44 PM on August 27, 2006

Have you considered the Outer Sunset? I lived there for a bit - lots of dogs, close to the beach and Golden Gate Park. I don't know if my property manager is still in the game, but drop me an email if you like and I'll give you his number.

We did the same as others here - made a dog resume, including a picture and a reference from a past landlord.
posted by mikepop at 7:25 AM on August 28, 2006

Here's a google maps mashup that takes all the craigslist rentals, shows them on a map, and lets you apply filters, including one for dogs.
posted by daisyace at 4:59 PM on August 28, 2006

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