Editor’s Note: The video above shows KXAN News Today’s top headlines for March 7, 2023. Watch Avery Travis’ investigation tonight at 10.

AUSTIN (KXAN) – When looking at all Zillow rental listings, Austin ranked as the most “pet-friendly” city in the U.S., according to a Zillow analysis. 

The analysis showed that while only around half of Zillow rental listings nationwide indicate that pets are allowed, in Austin, four of five listings do. 

Further, three Texas cities claimed the top spot for the highest number of listings allowing pets, and four Texas cities showed up in the top ten, according to the analysis. 

“As more people started working from home, pet ownership soared during the pandemic,” Zillow trend expert Amanda Pendleton said.

 “Pets are widely considered part of the American family, so it makes sense that they factor into moving decisions and impact housing preferences. Renters with pets who are planning to sign a new lease this year face even stiffer competition because they are limited to apartments where their furry friends are allowed. This data shows us that in certain cities, pet-friendly apartments are easier to find,” she continued. 

House Bill 1166

A bill that could make Texas cities even more pet friendly is being looked at by lawmakers this legislative session. 

HB 1166, filed by State Rep. Jon Rosenthal, D-Houston, sets some limitations on how much landlords can collect in fees for having a pet. The legislation proposed that if a landlord allows pets, they may collect a one-time refundable pet deposit at the beginning of a lease term or a monthly pet fee that cannot exceed $20, but not both. 

“Not only is housing scarce, rental housing is scarce, forcing the cost to go up, but then you add these types of fees on top of that,” Rosenthal told KXAN’s Will Dupree in January. 

“In thousands of cases across Texas in the last few years, families are making decisions between being able to keep their pet that they consider a family member or having a place to live. It’s an untenable situation,” Rosenthal continued. 

HB 1166 was read in early March and then assigned to the House Committee on Business and Industry.