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. Hi I’m 58 years old and I have an autistic, adhd, add,son and a Emotional Support Animal and I have a caregiver that sometimes stays with us and he also happens to be the father of my son thru IHSS AND we’ve been living in a one bdrm apartment for 20-25 years now we have to move out by March 31st and we have no idea what to do about this we can’t afford it but through mutual agreement and the owner bought the property in January 2004 and I moved in June 2004 and it was time my son had a room of his own he is 15 now so we don’t have any place to go yet and we are running out of time to move out and I already have a heavy heart with this

    1. Hello,

      Please contact your local PHA to apply for housing assistance. Ensure you let them know of your son’s condition. It should help speed things up.

  2. Hi. I’m looking for a place for a single, no dependents and no dog female. I’m looking for subsidized housing in Farmington Hills or Livonia to be close to my mother who lives in Livonia on the corner of Plymouth and Inkster. I am wheelchair bound and making only $16,020 a year. Please help me find a place 734-***-****. Thank You

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