Chicago No. 2 City in U.S. For Pet Lovers

by Peter Thomas Ricci

It can be difficult for renters to find a residence for them and their pets, but a select number of cities – Chicago included – are quite pet-friendly!


Otis, NAR’s new “spokesdog.” Photo credit: (PRNewsFoto/Move, Inc.)

Americans are a diverse bunch, with numerous views on religion, politics and sports varying wildly from coast to coast. In one area, though, Americans are in agreement – we love our pets. Sixty-two percent of American households, in fact, own at least one pet, and our films, TV programs and Internet memes all deal with pets to a large degree.

However, though owning a pet is no problem for homeowners, it can often be a different story for renters, who are beholden to the rules set by their building’s landlord. What is a pet-loving renter to do? Thankfully, there is a solution: look for rentals in pet-friendly cities!

Living in a Pet-Friendly World

And thankfully, your clients already live in such a city. Move, Inc., the parent company of the National Association of Realtors’ Realtor.com website, compiled a list of the five most pet-friendly rental markets in the U.S. by tracking both the number of pet-friendly listings the market had listed on Realtor.com and the number of dog parks in the area. The top five cities were:

Rank Cities Total Number of Pet-Friendly Listings Number of Dog Parks
1 Houston, Texas 1,381 22
2 Chicago, Ill. 1,012 21
3 Miami, Fla. 897 16
4 Austin, Texas 623 18
5 Charlotte, N.C. 793 8

As you can see, our fine city of Chicago came in at No. 2! For comparisons sake, Columbus, Ohio was among the least pet-friendly rental markets in the U.S. with only 24 pet-friendly rental listings, compared to Chicago’s 1,012.

Marketing For the Pet-Lovin’ World

Say potential renters and homebuyers do not realize how pet-friendly their city is; how do you go about displaying that in a subtle, clever manner? Once again, there is a solution, and this time, it’s in the form of a Great Dane-German Shepherd mix named “Otis.”

Otis originally rose to fame as “the scene-stealing dog.” His owners, who were looking to rent their Chicago apartment, slyly placed Otis in all of the photos of their apartment, and the listing immediately went viral, garnering national media attention and leading to the renting of the apartment in less than 24 hours.

So now, Move, Inc. has enlisted the efforts of Otis for Realtor.com, making him the site’s “spokesdog.” Otis will now be the site’s national symbol for listings that the agent deems pet-friendly.

“We know how important it is for renters to find a home that meets all their needs and the needs of their furry family members,” said Barbara O’Connor, executive vice president of marketing at Move Inc. and owner of a black rescue dog named Maddie. “We think Otis will do a great job of representing our dedication to pet-friendly listings and, as an extension, our commitment to delivering the best tools available to help renters find the right house or apartment for them.”

Click here for the first example of Otis’ charms for a rental listing in San Diego.

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