The checklist for most apartment dwellers is pretty simple: Fitness center? Check. Free Wi-Fi? Check. Doggie bathroom? Wait. What?
Yes, luxury living among the high-rise set is going to the dogs as builders are finding a huge demand for innovative spaces for animal lovers.
"There's a bit of an arms race going on among apartment buildings as to who can provide the most and the coolest pet amenities," said Carey Armstrong, director of rentals at Zillow.com.
"Where it used to be differentiating just to take pets at all, now to be competitive, many buildings feel they need to offer pet washing stations, full-service pet spas, places to walk your dog indoors, outdoor dog runs and even canine agility courses," Armstrong said.
For Ross Chanowski, who recently moved into a new pet-friendly apartment building in downtown Boston with his puppy Levi, this amenity was "super important."
"I never thought I would be able to have a dog in the city. This is life-changing," Chanowski said.
His building, 315 on A, is one of 750 apartment communities across the United States operated by Greystar. All of them cater to pet owners. Most have a room to wash and groom dogs. Some even have rooftop dog walks. The company brings in pet trainers to work with tenants and holds frequent pet events, such as "yappy hour" where tenants and their pets can mix and mingle.
"This gives us a distinct competitive advantage," said Kevin Sheehan, managing director of real estate at Greystar. "We highlight this on our website and make it part of the leasing presentation."
At some of the properties Greystar managers, there are restrictions on the breed and size of the dog. Tenants with a furry family member pay an additional $30 to $50 a month.
Sheehan admits there are problems from time to time, but he said good management takes care of most of them. The bottom line: "Pet owners are some of the best residents."
It wasn't so long ago that most landlords didn't allow pets, especially dogs. They were afraid of possible damage and the added liability. But Americans now spend more time and money on their companion animals and the rental industry has adapted to accommodate those who want to have pets.
"A lot of landlords have decided to go with the trend and stop fighting it," said Janan New, director of the San Francisco Apartment Association. "It's been an evolution over the last five years that's really accelerated recently."
The new Avant South Park apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles will have 440 units when it's completed. And like the other 15 projects the company plans to build in LA, pet owners are welcome.
"We love pets," said Alla Sorochinsky, managing director at Century West Partners. "Pets are an important part of people's lives in urban settings and it's important for us to realize this."