Does Section 8 Allow Pets

Does Section 8 Allow Pets – 2024

The US citizens love pets and 66% have a furry friend so you must understand the Section 8 policy about allow or disallow in detail. The rules are followed according to the federal government HUD (Housing and Urban Development),

What is HUD’s Pet Policy? Section 8

Let’s begin with the happy news that, yes, section 8 does allow pets as per HUD guidelines. 

As per the HUD guidelines: 

Reasonable accommodations are required for applicants or tenants owning pets that do not pose a direct threat to others’ safety or health or cause large physical destruction to their property.

You can have up to 2 pets; however, your landlord must agree for you to have them in his property. So your job is to go for the landlord who is in his house.

Managing Pets at Your PHA: What You Need to Know

Managing Pets at Your PHA

It is the job of your local PHA to set the rules, not Section 8. These rules regarding pet ownership may vary from one PHA to another. These include:

  • There is a certain number of pets allowed for each house
  • There are breed restrictions on animals, particularly dogs
  • Even these rules have weight restrictions on animals, i.e., dogs and cats
  • There is a defined number of cats permitted per house
  • Just like cats, the number of birds permitted for each house is certain
  • Last but not least, there are clear restrictions on exotic animals

Which Pets Are Welcomed in Section 8 Housing?

Which Pets allow Housing?

Pets are normally allowed given that they meet the stated criteria:

  • They must not be unsafe
  • As long as they are not a danger to other occupants or property

Now, coming to the weight limit per pet, which is 25 pounds to 50 pounds estimated. You can choose to have more than a single pet because you are good if they do not exceed the total weight limit.

Yes, there are exceptions where landlords accept any pet with a condition they must be well-behaved, i.e., harmless to the property. However, it happens more often that landlords give a green signal to only specific types and even breeds so there are no snakes or spiders in the house.

You have domesticated animals like cats, dogs, and other small ones, as long as you keep them away from damaging the property, i.e., making a mess or attracting vermin, etc.

Section 8 Restrictions: Prohibited Pets

Section 8 Restrictions 
Prohibited Pets

It is highly unlikely for landlords to accept some animals so you can ask for their permission, and you never know, you might get a yes. However, there are clear constraints on the type and size of pet you can keep in the house. The following list of animals is strictly prohibited:

  • Dogs with a bite history
  • Pit bull terriers
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Dogs that weigh more than 40 pounds
  • Rottweilers
  • German shepherds. 
  • Chows
  • Any snake species, including boa constrictors and pythons,

Does Section 8 allow pets: Consequences of Hiding a Pet from Your Landlord

Hiding a pet from your landlord can land you in serious trouble, especially in a Section 8 housing situation. Let’s discuss the potential consequences you will have to put up with in case of keeping a pet secretly:

One of the significant risks involved in eviction. If you violate the pet policy and get discovered by your landlord, you will likely land in hot water. The landlord may have the right to terminate your lease agreement, and you will get evicted from the property.

Fines and Fees:
Landlords can impose penalties or fees on you for keeping them in the dark about pets. And the next moment, you are drowning in financial burden (because the charges can add up quickly).

Additional Rent:
Some landlords may demand you to pay extra monthly rent for having a pet on their property. And you could be responsible for backdated rent payments if they caught you red-handed.

Security Deposit:
There is a considerable possibility that landlords end up withholding a significant portion of your security deposit to make up for any pet-related damages, cleaning, or repairs.

Legal Action:
If the situation escalates, you might have to deal with a lot of mess if your landlord goes for legal action against you, i.e., filing to recover the damages caused by your secretly kept pet or enforcing the terms of your lease agreement.

Hiding your pet should never be an option since it will jeopardize your relationship with your landlord and eventually housing and even lead to financial consequences, i.e., acceptable fees, security deposits, etc. Seek your landlord’s permission to own a pet, and if you can, go for legal consent, which will help you avoid hefty legal and financial battles. If your lease requires you to take permission or if it is mentioned in the local regulations, then hiding your pet under your landlord’s roof could prove detrimental for you.

Tips for Renters with Pets in Section 8 Housing

Now that we have gone through the basics let’s explore some tips for you who are going for pets in Section 8 housing

Know Local and State Laws: 

It is crucial to familiarize yourself with rules and regulations, i.e., local and state laws, as these laws might influence pet policies despite being a federal program. 

Find Pet-Friendly Section 8 Housing: 

It would be best to research a pet-friendly landlord, but I believe there are many pet-friendly Section 8 housing

Prepare a Pet Resume: 

Go for a pet resume and include everything you would like to be a part of your resume, i.e., good qualities, training, and add vaccinations in case of pets (of course) and submit it as an application.

Communicate with Landlords: 

Open and honest communication goes a long way, especially with people who will significantly impact your life. Discuss your pet situation with your landlord; they are more likely to understand.

Summing It Up

Does Section 8 allow pets? Yes, you can have, but there are rules you must abide by. You can have it if they do not threaten people or property. In addition, your landlord must permit you to keep on his property. Since not all landlords are pet-friendly, you might need a little hunt to find yourself one. Furthermore, each PHA (Public Housing Authority) has its own rules, i.e., the number of pets you can have, weight limit, restriction on specific breeds or animals, etc.

So, if you are considering having a pet without the landlord’s permission, let us break it to you in one word: DON’T. You might end up dealing with eviction, fees, fines, legal action, and tons of other things that will cost you a great deal of money, time, and effort, and you would not want that.

So play by the rules, be honest with your landlord, and ensure your pet is well-behaved. Good luck to you for finding a pet-friendly home under the program!


Do Landlords Discriminate Against Pet Owners?

Even though landlords cannot legally discriminate against pet owners as long as the pet is considered safe in the home or the public housing, landlords can increase security deposits or even charge non-refundable fees as per law.

The property owner can refuse to rent you the property if you don’t abide by the rules set by the PHA, i.e., number of pets, net weight, banned breed, etc. In addition, you have to satisfy the landlord. After all, his property is at risk, so they might ask you to get your pet licensed or neutered.

Does Section 8 housing ban dogs based on size?

 The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. You cannot have a dangerous breed of animal as per Section 8 housing. However, there is the possibility that your dog gets banned due to the size of the animal and the available space, which is a reasonable and permitted restriction. 

Do I have to register my pet as per law?

The pet policy can require registering your pet, but there is no definite pet policy. So, if it is a requirement, you must fulfill it, i.e., register your pet with facility management. For example, it is mandatory to note your pet in all public housing facilities for the elderly and disabled. 

Can the housing authority order me to remove my pet for being too loud?

Unfortunately, Yes. If your pet is a nuisance or violates the pet policy set by the Public Housing Authority, you will have to get rid of it if you want to keep living under the program.

Can I have Cats as a Section 8 Housing Tenant?

Landlords find cats more acceptable than dogs and other animals, especially if they are smaller and well-trained. However, you can be assured by visiting the listing page. Click the “Pets Allowed” link under the Amenities section for your answer.

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