Trying to secure a dog-friendly rental apartment can be a headache-inducing — and sometimes heartbreaking — ordeal. And even residential communities that advertise themselves as being pet-friendly and offer an array of canine amenities like rooftop dog runs and in-house walking services can impose draconian rules on the size and specific breed of dogs permitted.
For many dog owners, the reality that even Very Good Boys can face discrimination left and right is a tough pill to swallow. But that's real estate for you.
An in-development apartment complex located in Denmark's Frederikssund municipality is having none of this. In fact, the 18-unit rental development will only consider potential tenants if they arrive to sign a lease with man's best friend in tow.
No dog, no luck.
Dubbed Hundehuset ("The Dog House"), this Danish doggie Shangri-La is the brainchild of a local developer named Martin Viuff who took notice of an uptick in demand for pooch-friendly flats.
"People are tired of the fact that there are so many places where you cannot have a dog," Viuff tells Danish news agency Ritzau in a report by The Guardian. "We'd like to welcome dog owners. Many of them feel a little lonely."
In conceiving Hundehuset, Viuff and businesses partner Palle Søegaard consulted with the Danish Kennel Club, Denmark's largest dog-owner association, to glean ideas on how to make new tenants and their furry cohabitants feel most at home.
Hundehuset, a Danish apartment rental complex catering exclusively to dog owners, is planned for the charming coastal municipality of Frederikssund, located roughly 30 miles northwest of Copenhagen. (Photo: Rasmus Lerdof/Flickr)
"We've never seen anything like this," Lise Lotte Christensen, a behavioral expert with the Danish Kennel Club, tells Ritzau. "It's super exciting, it's innovative, and we look forward to following the project as it evolves."
Denmark ranks relatively modestly when it comes to European Union member states and dog ownership with 23 percent of Danish households owning at least one dog. Romania tops the list with 46 percent of households. Austria is the most lukewarm-on-dogs EU country with just 12 percent of households owning one. And although Danes apparently have an affinity toward petite breeds, the Labrador retriever is, to little surprise, the most popular breed in the Scandinavian nation. Denmark, which claims five native breeds including the Danish Pointer and the Broholmer, also has one of the strictest dog breed bans on the books; to significant controversy, 13 different breeds that have been deemed as "dangerous" by officials are verboten.
All the pooch-friendly bells and whistles
In response to the input of Christensen and a larger advisory group, Hundehuset, which is due to open next year, will include durable, easy-to-clean-floors in the units and an outdoor dog-bathing area among other features. "Dogs wear things out, they have their outdoor shoes on all year round," says Christensen. "They don't take their shoes off in the hallway."
Above all, Hundehuset promises a supportive, congenial vibe in which tenants needn't worry about getting read the riot act by a neighbor down the hall if their Finnish Spitz gets a little yappy at 2 a.m. It's all good.
No word if potential renters at Hundehuset will receive special perks for owning native Danish breeds such as the Danish-Swedish farmdog, pictured here. (Photo: Kristoffer Söderlund/Flickr)
There will, however, be some limitations in place at Hundehuset. For one, Viuff will reportedly require an in-person meet-and-greet with all potential canines before their humans signs a lease. Viuff plans to allow for residents to move in with multiple dogs although they must be on the smaller side if there's more than one dog per unit. Dogs larger than 45 kg (99 pounds) will be turned away due to the relatively compact size of the apartments.
Per The Local, cats will also be permitted at the complex, although it's unclear what cat owner in their right mind would want to move into an apartment building named the Dog House. Or who knows … maybe this arrangement could lead to adorable cross-species friendships amongst neighbors. After all, not every dog is dead-set on antagonizing their litter box-using counterparts.
Viuff tells Ritzau that an apartment complex exclusively for cats — and the humans under their spell — could also be a possibility. "I could imagine we might build an apartment block for cat owners. It's on the drawing board," he says.
It's worth noting that Hundehuset isn't the only rental complex that caters strictly to dog owners. In 2014, we wrote about Judy Guth, the octogenarian landlord of a 12-unit rental building in North Hollywood, California, who requires all of her tenants to own a pet. No exceptions. And per Guth's idiosyncratic (and apparently legal) rules, tenants must stay pet owners while residing in her complex. If Noodles the Norwich terrier happens to pass away from old age, its owner better start looking for Noodles Part 2 and tout suite. Otherwise, they'd be in violation of their lease.
Guth explained that she prefers to rent to pet-owners over pet-less tenants because, in her opinion, they tend to be more responsible when it comes to paying rent on time, they move less and "have a lot of love in their hearts."