Home » Are Hamsters Good Apartment Pets? (No-Pet Policies + Neighbors)
can you have a hamster in an apartment?
Questions And Answers

Are Hamsters Good Apartment Pets? (No-Pet Policies + Neighbors)

Pets can make any building feel like a real home, anchoring us to our choice of dwelling.

Alas, size and logistical constraints may restrict you from keeping traditional companion animals if you live in a small apartment. You may consider getting a caged pet like a hamster.

Hamsters make ideal apartment pets because they live in cages and can exercise in a hamster-proofed room. They’re quiet animals that don’t produce a bad odor, provided you replace any soiled bedding. Hamsters are easy to tame, inexpensive to care for and don’t cause allergic reactions.

Check with the landlord that you can keep a pet in the apartment. Some dwellings have strict rules against animal occupants, even small caged animals, unless you have evidence of their necessity.

If legal and permissible, hamsters are among the best pets for apartments.

Can You Have a Hamster in an Apartment?

Before bringing a pet into an apartment, you need to ask two questions:

  • Can you have a pet in your apartment? This will be specified in the lease agreement if you rent or in the arrangements set out by a Resident Committee if you own the apartment.
  • Should you have a pet in your apartment? Leaving aside the decision’s legality, the decision to keep a hamster must be fair and reasonable to the animal and your neighbors.

If you answered yes to both questions, hamsters aren’t restricted by the size or logistics of living in an apartment and will never bother your neighbors.  


Hamsters live in plastic or glass tanks and metal cages. They can be located in the corner of a room, outside your main living space.

If you want more than one hamster, you’ll need an equal number of tanks, as you can’t keep them together. Males will fight viciously, and even two females will squabble over territory.

Of course, the hamster will need out-of-cage time for exercise and enrichment, but that won’t be a problem as a hamster can gleefully run around a hamster-proofed room.

Even food is easy to store for hamsters. A bag of hamster muesli will last for weeks/months and won’t take up much storage room in an apartment.

Unless you live in a tiny studio apartment with lots of possessions, there’s no need to worry about space when sharing a home with a hamster.

are hamsters considered pets in apartments?

Smell and Cleanliness

If you’re living in a small apartment, the last thing you’ll want is a smelly pet.

Thankfully, hamsters clean themselves, so you don’t need to wash them. Provide a sand bath for the hamster to roll around and clean itself.

Hamsters don’t care where they poop. You may be able to potty train a hamster, but it’s unlikely to be a failsafe strategy. So, you must change any soiled bedding regularly to avoid urine smells.


Hamsters are mainly quiet animals, but they’re communicative and produce a range of sounds. The most common noise is the occasional squeak when fearful or excited.

They’re crepuscular animals, so the noise created by a hamster running on its exercise wheel can cause sleeplessness. Equally, a hamster may make noise by chewing on the metal bars of its cage.

Get a silent wheel for a better night’s sleep, and don’t position a hamster’s tank next to a wall to avoid disturbing your neighbors.

Provide fun toys to keep your hamster entertained while you sleep.

Are Hamsters Considered Pets in Apartments?

Your hamster will likely be classified as a pet when you move into a new apartment. Whether this is a problem for your landlord depends upon the terms of the lease.

The landlord may have a strict no-pets policy if you rent your home. Ordinarily, this is designed with larger animals in mind, primarily cats and dogs, due to genuine concerns over safety, noise, and damage.

You may have to pay more for an apartment. According to The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, a pet-friendly apartment can command a considerably higher rent.

Can You Have A Hamster in A No-Pet Apartment?

This depends upon the arrangement you have with the landlord.

Some landlords show more flexibility around keeping hamsters than other pets, mainly because of the reasons we’ve identified that make hamsters good apartment pets.

Unfortunately, some landlords may adhere to a no-pet policy, even if you only have a well-cared-for dwarf hamster. Explanations for this could include:

  • Precedent. Landlords fear that making an exception for you means they’ll need to do the same for other tenants with pets, not all of which are as suitable as hamsters.
  • Flexibility. Some landlords worry that if an exception is made for one hamster, more animals will surely follow, assuming it won’t be a problem because another resident has a pet.
  • Law. Some states, most notably California and Hawaii, prohibit hamster ownership as they endanger the ecosystem.

If you live in California or Hawaii, you’ll have little choice but to accept the ruling of your landlord.

If you’ve registered your hamster as an emotional support animal (ESA) and can produce suitable documentation, your landlord is legally obligated to let you keep a pet hamster.

ESAs are excluded from any no-pet policy in an apartment. Under the Fair Housing Act, you have the legal right to live with your hamster, but you’ll need a formal letter from a mental health professional.

can you have a hamster in a no pet apartment?

Alternative Pets for an Apartment

Here are some other low-maintenance pets for apartments:


Whether small or larger, birds can make good companion animals in an apartment. Be wary of the noise, as birds may disturb or annoy your neighbors.


Cats can live indoors, provided you meet all their needs and satisfy hunting instincts with play. Be wary of a cat’s wanderlust, especially if you have a balcony and live on a higher floor.


You can’t hold a fish, but an aquarium is arguably the best pet for an apartment, as it’ll be a decorative feature as much as an animal’s home.


Reptiles like nonvenomous snakes, lizards, and small tortoises thrive in apartments. They’re quiet animals that don’t make much mess. Unfortunately, reptiles aren’t affectionate or loving pets.

Small Dogs

If you have access to an outside area, you could consider a small dog. For example, the Zuchon was bred by New York City apartment-dwellers in the 1970s to require little exercise and time indoors.

Hamsters are low-maintenance animals that are easy to keep as pets. As hamsters are crepuscular, you can leave them to sleep all day while you work.

The one area you need to be mindful of with hamsters is their innate curiosity. Unless the tank/cage is completely escape-proof, your hamster will likely get loose at some point.

Hamsters are expert escapologists who love to explore and are good at hiding. So, if this happens, you need to know their favored hiding places.

Hamsters are ideal pets for an apartment. They have caged accommodation, so size isn’t a problem. Also, their cleanliness and quietness mean they won’t annoy your neighbors.