Can You Have Pets in Low-Income Housing?

Are pets allowed in social housing?

Pets are a great source of companionship and love. It’s not surprising that so many individuals would like to have pets with them in social housing. The question is, however, can landlords refuse to rent out an apartment or home to someone because they have pets?

The answer depends on the type of housing you’re talking about. Public housing is often subsidized by government agencies that stipulate what types of animals are allowed in the building.

Whether there will be any fees for having a pet in your unit and how long you’ll need to wait before bringing in your new furry friend are a part of this.

Are Pets Allowed in Social Housing?

Pets are allowed in public housing and subsidized units across the country, but there are some exceptions. An apartment may deny you if you have a pet or you will be required to submit information on your dog or animal’s health before moving in (to prevent any issues with allergies). Additionally, some cities have restrictions on the number of pets allowed per home.

However, even if you don’t live in public housing, most landlords cannot bar tenants from having a pet, but they can charge non-refundable fees and ask for an additional security deposit that covers damages related to your dog or cat. If your pet causes no damage, you’ll get the money back.

Moreover, your landlord does not have the right to enter your home without a warrant in order to prevent you from having pets.

In practice, most landlords will allow tenants with animals provided they are well-behaved and do no damage to the property, but it’s better to check on this matter before signing a lease or moving into an apartment.

If you have a larger than average dog, you should also ensure that your landlord allows this on the premises.

Can Landlords Discriminate Against Pet Owners?

Landlords cannot legally refuse to rent an apartment to someone because they own a pet, as long as the animal is not considered “aggressive.” However, as mentioned, landlords are allowed to increase security deposits or charge non-refundable fees for having a pet in your home.

In some cases, landlords may also require that your pet be spayed/neutered and licensed. If your pet is a banned breed or the number of pets you own exceeds local regulations, the landlord can refuse to rent to you.

Those With Disabilities and Service Animals

Landlords are also not allowed to discriminate against people with disabilities who need a service animal. A service animal or assistance animal is “a trained animal to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

If you have a disability and require a service animal, the landlord cannot charge any additional fees or ask for more documentation. Furthermore, the landlord is required to make reasonable accommodations so that you can have your service animal live with you in your home.

The Fair Housing Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against families who have children, require assistance from assistance animals, or use wheelchairs.

You can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development if you believe your landlord did not provide adequate accommodations to comply with the Federal housing administration, for example, allowing you to keep an emotional support animal in situations where pets are normally prohibited.

Additionally, many states have their own fair housing laws that provide more protection for tenants with assistance animals.

Pet Ownership in Public Housing

All low-income public housing residents are permitted to own and keep common household pets, which are defined as smaller animals such as a dog, cat, bird, rat, ferret, fish, or turtle.

Public housing complexes often have restrictions on the number of pets you’re allowed to have, and what types of animals are permitted, but most subsidized housing does not place the same limitations.

Pets are generally welcome in social housing as long as they don’t cause any disturbances or damage to the property.

Section 504, a federal law that protects the rights of disabled people, also includes animals as one of its protected classes. This means that your landlord cannot discriminate against you or charge additional fees for having an animal in public housing if prescribed by the doctor and necessary to help with medical needs.

Pet owners may be required to submit information on the pet’s health when applying for public housing, as there is always a chance that animals could cause allergies among other residents.

Moreover, you may not always be able to take your pet with you if you decide to move out of public housing. It is important to consult the animal shelters in your area as they will often have a list of pet-friendly subsidized housing complexes.

In addition, many animal shelters offer temporary foster care for pets of families who are in the process of moving.

There are many different ways to find pet-friendly housing. You can also search online, contact social service agencies, or ask around as there’s always someone who will know where you can get the information you need.


The combination of affordable and safe living spaces for families with children who live on a limited income and the needs of animals (both domesticated and wild) can be difficult to balance. Pets are considered as one of the family members by many people, however, they come with their own set of challenges that may not fit into low-income living situations.

Seemingly, there is a place for all types of pets in low-income housing. Families who have limited incomes but do not live in subsidized properties can still keep their small animals as living companions.

These families should always be mindful that they will likely need additional funds to provide food and veterinary care on top of the usual costs associated with keeping a pet. We hope that this article provides some clarity for those who are unsure of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to owning a pet.


  1. Hello to it may concern. , I will be homeless as soon as less than month . Please I need help. I want to live in perris, ca out of the city , which may be cheaper for me,can u please help me , I’m 71 yrs old . My rent gone up , which I can’t afford. Thy so much , please contact me as soon as I can

    1. Hi,

      Please contact your local PHA office to apply. Also, ensure to explain your impending homelessness in order to get priority.

  2. I don’t live in public housing but is it possible that I can use my section 8 where I’m currently living which is a three bedroom house in Ocala Florida, due to some disabilities I am having a hard time maintaining a job since most job require you to be able to bend, push, pull, and lift. I spoke with my landlord and she doesn’t have a problem with allowing me to use the section 8 program to help with rent.

    1. Hi, if your landlord has approved of you making use of the section 8 voucher in the apartment all you have to do is to submit an application with the local housing authority and wait for your approval.

    1. The duration of the Section 8 waiting list differs with some waiting for a few months and others can span over many years. You can keep checking back with your PHA office or check your status online by clicking here.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *