Searching For A Dog Friendly Apartment In Lincoln Park

I’ll be honest, looking for affordable apartments with a dog in Chicago, particularly Lincoln Park, wasn’t the easiest of real estate endeavors.
My criteria for a dog-friendly building wasn’t exactly exorbitant, I was simply looking for a building within my price range, by some greenery (my pup doesn’t know where to tinkle in a concrete jungle), hopefully by the water (this, however was not a deal breaker), and not in a super congested area (he’s 6-lbs, my pup is easy to trample). However, during my search, I kept encountering dead ends and met a lot of buildings with deal breakers.
The first hurdle was simply locating a pet-friendly building. There were so many buildings that either had a no pet policy or a “cats only” pet policy. The dog buildings were both few and far between and decidedly more expensive than their “no pet” and “cats only” buildings.

The second hurdle to blissful, city, pet-friendly living was encountered upon rental agreements. A lot of properties not only wanted a pet deposit, but wanted an additional monthly “pet rent” on top of it! I lived in my last apartment for three years. This pet rental fee would have amounted to a minimum of $3,600 on top of the rent and on top of a generous pet deposit if I stayed at my new property for as long as I had rented with my previous landlord. This additional pet rent left a bad taste in my mouth, so any building that charged a monthly fee for my pup was immediately scratched off my list. And while you’re thinking, “Perhaps the rent was lower at these buildings?”, let me assure you, they were on par with dog-friendly buildings, but just wanted that extra bit of income from dog owners. It was not on par or a bargain by any means.

Thankfully, my dog is all of 6-lbs, so finding an apartment that accepted dogs was not a problem, however, there are a lot of Chicago dog owners who have to deal with eight restrictions on their furry friends. Most landlords will specify a pet weight either online or will ask you right away how much your dog weighs.
Buildings without responsible management (and even less responsible tenants) who permitted dogs in their properties; the exterior of the complex would resemble an unkempt dog run (and smelled like it too). I didn’t want to worry about getting my dog an extra vaccination just to take him outside for a quick walk! Other buildings where tenants were quite inconsiderate with their animal, I could hear their dog barking or howling when I went into the apartments for a tour. I like dogs as much as the next pet owner, but I also need my sleep so I can get to work and afford to take care of my dog! I asked about what happened when someone complained about dog nuisance and the realtor just shrugged, gave me a cheesy smile, and replied, “This is a ‘really’ dog friendly building.’” Translation: management didn’t care about their rental community as a whole.

Ready to re-sign my lease at my old apartment, I went on one last apartment tour. Seemingly it was perfect – corner of Clark and Diversey, tons of restaurants and grocery stores, access to Lincoln Park nightlife, but also a hop, skip, and jump away from the Diversey Harbour, Lincoln Park, nature trail, and Peggy Nobart Nature Museum.

The building was pet friendly, my unit had more square footage than my last apartment (making my dog happy I can throw his toys longer distances), the exterior was well-maintained, tenants were friendly and respectful (no one allowed their dog to tinkle in front of the building), and management asked all the right questions about my dog and our previous living situation. What’s more, there were two pet supply stores nearby – no more carking his heavy bags of dog food around! My long apartment search was over! We were home!

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