You may have seen the movie The Secret Life of Pets.  But really the secret is people hiding their pets.

Illinois is one of the top states in the country that adds to the over 7 Million pets living illegally as their owners hide them to save some money.

So Many Pets Living Illegally In Rented Homes

Wavebreak Media

In the United States, there are an estimated 7 million pets living in rented homes and apartments "illegally".  Meaning the pet owners have not told the property owners of the extra being living with them.

An estimated 86 million households own a pet which includes 1 in 3 renters. Which means that there are a lot of renters out there who live with their pets on someone else’s property - but how many of them have actually declared them to their landlord?

As you can see from the map below, Illinois has a lot that does not declare their pets.

Created by Agent-Advice • Viewlarger version

The survey from found that 82% of pet owners would be willing to pay an additional fee to keep their furry friend in the rental property with them - the extra cost could quite easily be used to make any repairs to anything that was damaged.

And when it comes to how much people would be willing to pay on top of their rent, the average amount was $375.69.

"Caring for a pet is a responsibility that requires commitment and dedication, yet the current rental market often makes it challenging for pet owners to find suitable and affordable accommodations. Discriminatory pet policies and limited pet-friendly options not only place an undue burden on renters but also deny them the joy and companionship that pets bring to their lives" says Chris Heller of

Tips For Pet Owners While Renting

Jail Inmates Care For Abused And Abandoned Pets
Getty Images

So there are two ways to go about this.  The upfront honest way or the "try to get away with it" way.  Starting with the legit way, here are tips on how to approach renting with pets.

1 - Talk to Your Landlord

Providing documentation on your prospective pet's health history and training plans can strengthen your case. Many landlords will make exceptions for excellent tenants who are positive contributors to the rental community.

2- Be Flexible

Many landlords have restrictions on the type or size of pets allowed due to noise or potential damage. If your landlord approves a pet with certain restrictions, consider being more selective in your choice of pet.

3 - Providing Documentation

If you're a pet owner looking to move into a new rental property, providing additional documentation can help show your landlord that you're a responsible pet owner. This may include a letter from your current landlord, vet records, training records, and spay/neuter records.

4 - Offer to Pay More

Money talks. While some pet-friendly rentals have upfront policies regarding deposits or rent surcharges, it's possible to convince some landlords who don't allow pets to make exceptions if you offer to pay extra.

So You Don't Want To Pay More But You Still Want The Pet

group of five dogs sitting in front of a white background
Zoonar/Erik Lam

Need to keep the pet on the down low?  Some simple tips can help you pull it off.

  • Take out the pet-related stuff including pictures.
  • When it's inspection time, take the pet to a friend's house
  • Don't take the dog for a walk when you know your landlord is around.
  • Don't talk to neighbors about your pet.  Trust no one.
  • Surprise inspection?  Cough, cough...don't think you can come in right now.  Set a precedent of a minimum of 24 hours before they can come in.

Whatever you do as a renter with your pet be sure they are kept safe and happy.


Illegal Pets In The Quad Cities

Every state has laws when it comes to owning pets. No matter how badly you want these pets, you could see some fines for having them.

These Are The Top 10 "Trashiest" Towns In Illinois ranked the top 10 "trashiest" towns in Illinois based on government data.

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