Searching for an apartment in Boston with a pet can be a frustrating experience. Once you’ve made it through the small selection of apartments that will allow your pet, you are likely to find even further restrictions according to breed and weight that makes it near impossible to rent in Boston with a big dog. Some apartment buildings in Boston allow only cats, while I have yet to find any that allow just dogs—normally if they allow dogs, they’ll allow cats too. Even if you can find a place that will let both you and Sparky live together, you might find yourself shelling out an additional $30-$75 per month in “pet rent.”
So how can you win as a pet owner renting in Boston?
Know your dog or cat’s weight and breed and plan accordingly. If you have a small pet under 50lbs (fully grown) it’s likely that most pet friendly apartment buildings and condo owners will accept them. Weight and breed restrictions mostly exist for insurance purposes. Although cats and small dogs may be more likely to scratch the floors and walls, they are generally quieter and less potentially harmful to other residents. Larger dogs get a bad wrap for biting and louder barking, which makes it harder to insure a building that allows these breeds. If you have one of these breeds you will have to focus your search on condo rentals and hope that you can either: find a landlord sympathetic to your breed, or negotiate a situation that is amicable for both parties, which usually can be done by offering to pay an additional security deposit.
Know Where to Search for Pet Friendly Boston Apartments
There are certain areas of the city with more dog parks and therefore more pet owners tend to live in those areas. Brookline, for instance, has more dog parks than most of Boston, while the South End is known to be relatively dog friendly. The Seaport District, with its open lofts and spacious apartments, has also become a popular area for pets. The areas to avoid with pets tend to be those with more compact city living: Downtown Crossing, Chinatown, the North End, and Copley Square / Prudential are not particularly pet friendly places to live compared with other areas of the city. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the size of most apartments in these areas hardly accommodates more than one human, let alone humans living with pets.
My suggestion for large dog owners: buy a condo! Rarely do you see condo associations with the same pet weight and breed restrictions as you do with rentals.