Does Section 8 Allow Pets? Helpful advice to avoid confusion (2023)

As a general rule, Section 8 housing programs allow pets, but there are some exceptions. The public housing program only allows pets if they are fish, and the housing voucher program is more flexible.

In this guide, you will get a clear answer to the popular question: “Does Section 8 allow pets or not?” We cover everything you need to know about pets in Section 8 housing. From the types of pets allowed in different apartments and their policies around them, to whether a landlord can actually deny a pet.

For additional information check out 8 ways to find houses for rent by owner accepting Section 8.

Does Section 8 Allow Pets? Helpful advice to avoid confusion (1)


  • 1 What Is the Policy on Pets?
  • 2 How Your PHA Handles Pets?
  • 3 What Type of Pet Is Allowed?
  • 4 Which Pets Are Not Allowed?
  • 5 What Happens if You Hide a Pet From Your Landlord?
  • 6 How to Find an Apartment That Allows Pets?
    • 6.1 Know the Law
    • 6.2 Look Into Section 8
  • 7 How Can You Avoid Eviction if You Have a Pet?
    • 7.1 Conclusion to the Question: “Does Section 8 allow pets”
  • 8 FAQ
    • 8.1 Can a Landlord Deny My Pet in a Section 8 Apartment?
    • 8.2 Can I Keep My Pet if It Causes Damage to the Property?
    • 8.3 Are Cats Allowed in Section 8 Housing?
    • 8.4 Popular question: Does section 8 allow pitbulls?

What Is the Policy on Pets?

I have checked the HUD guidelines for you and section 8 does allow pets.

The HUD guidelines say: “If the applicant or tenant owns a pet and it does not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others and would not result in substantial physical damage to the property of others, reasonable accommodations are required.”

You can have up to 2 pets, but your landlord will have to agree. Some landlords do not accept pets so you may need to search for a house that allows pets.

How Your PHA Handles Pets?

As stated above, Section 8 does not set rules for pets. That is the job of your local PHA. Each PHA has slightly different rules and regulations regarding pets in their properties. A few things they may include are:

  • Number of pets allowed per household
  • Breed restrictions on dogs and other animals
  • Weight limits on animals such as dogs and cats
  • Number of cats allowed per household
  • Number of birds allowed per household
  • Restrictions on exotic animals such as

What Type of Pet Is Allowed?

Pets are generally allowed as long as they meet the following criteria:

Does Section 8 Allow Pets? Helpful advice to avoid confusion (2)
  • Must not be dangerous
  • Must not pose a threat to other residents or property

However, the weight limit for each pet is 25lbs to 50lbs estimated. You may have more than one pet of the same weight as long as they do not go over the total weight limit.

Some landlords will be happy to accept any type of pet as long as they are well-behaved and don’t cause any damage to the property. However, other landlords may only be willing to accept a certain type of pet that is considered acceptable by most people (e.g., no snakes or spiders).

You can have dogs, cats, and other small animals as long as you keep them from making a mess and attracting vermin.

If it’s a small apartment, then only small pets should be allowed to live there. Some smaller apartments can only accommodate one dog or cat at most.

Which Pets Are Not Allowed?

Pets that are considered ‘dangerous’ or ‘exotic’ are prohibited from living in public housing. Common examples include snakes, ferrets, and large rodents like rats. Some landlords may make exceptions for these animals (again with their permission), but it is unlikely.

That being said, there are restrictions on the size and type of pet you may keep. Specifically, they do not allow any of the following:

  • Dogs with a bite history
  • Dogs weighing more than 40 pounds
  • Pit bull terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • German shepherds
  • Chows
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Wolf hybrids or any mixed breed of these dogs
  • Any species of snake, including pythons and boa constrictors

What Happens if You Hide a Pet From Your Landlord?

If you hide a pet from your landlord, there are some risks that come along with it.

If you are a Section 8 tenant, you are required to follow the rules and regulations of your lease agreement. These rules apply to whether or not you can have pets in your Section 8 residence. If you choose to keep a pet without letting your landlord know, there is a risk that they will find out and take action against you.

There are things that landlords can do if they find out that you have a pet without their permission:

  • evict you (end the tenancy)
  • charge fines or fees
  • require additional rent
  • withhold security deposit or use of it for repairs
  • sue for damages

How to Find an Apartment That Allows Pets?

Start by checking the building’s pet policy on their website or calling them up directly. If they have a list of approved breeds for dogs or other animals, then that means they are likely open to pets in general but just want specific types that they allow on site. If there is no listing at all on their site or over the phone then it’s likely that they don’t allow pets altogether and won’t accept your application if you bring one along with you when filling out paperwork.

  • The best way to find an apartment that allows pets is by asking people who live there already if they have any experience with landlords accepting animals into their homes – most people will be happy to help you out, and the answer is right at your fingertips.

Know the Law

While landlords may not be required by law to accept your pet, many laws exist to protect you from discrimination based on your pet ownership status. Laws may vary depending on where you live and other factors (like whether you have a disability), but many states disallow landlord discrimination against renters with pets unless there is a valid reason for it (for example, if the building has no-pet rules in place).

Look Into Section 8

Section 8 housing is rental assistance offered by the government. If you want to rent an apartment with Section 8 assistance, you must meet certain criteria and go through an application process. There are sometimes rules about what kinds of pets are allowed in Section 8 apartments, and there might.

How Can You Avoid Eviction if You Have a Pet?

If you’re a renter who is thinking about getting a pet, it’s important to make sure that your new pet won’t get you evicted.

The Fair Housing Act protects you and your pet against discrimination, but most landlords can still control what pets they allow in their properties.

So how do you avoid eviction if you have a pet?

  • Ask your landlord if you can have a pet before moving in.
  • Make sure your animal gets along with other people and animals.
  • Avoid damage by getting pet insurance.
  • Take care of any messes right away.

Conclusion to the Question: “Does Section 8 allow pets”

Does low-income housing allow pets? In summary, it is safe to assume that a landlord’s ability to ban pets will depend on the specific language used in the lease. Of course, landlords should be sure to carefully review their lease agreements with any new tenant. If you have any concerns about an existing lease agreement, feel free to contact an attorney or your local Fair Housing Office.


Can a Landlord Deny My Pet in a Section 8 Apartment?

Yes, a landlord may deny your pet in a Section 8 apartment. As long as they allow other pets, they cannot discriminate against you based on the type of pet you have or because you have an emotional support animal. If they do not allow pets at all, however, you are not allowed to keep your pet in a Section 8 apartment.

Can I Keep My Pet if It Causes Damage to the Property?

It depends on what the damages to the property are. If your pet causes damages to the property and you are required to pay for those damages, then yes, you can keep your pet if you do so.
However, if your landlord is asking you to pay for damages to the property and refuses to allow you to keep your pet, they cannot legally evict you based on the fact that you have a pet. In other words, if you agree to pay for any damages caused by your pet, you are allowed to keep it.

Are Cats Allowed in Section 8 Housing?

Since cats are generally smaller and easier to care for than dogs, most apartments that accept dogs will also allow cats. The easiest way to see if cats are allowed at a particular property is to click on the “Pets Allowed” link under the Amenities section on the listing page.

Popular question: Does section 8 allow pitbulls?



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