Pet Owners and New York City Apartments


Pet friendly buildings, no pets allowed and all variations in between face pet owners when looking for a new apartment.  Some pet-friendly co-ops and rental buildings place restrictions on number, size and breed of pet.  What’s a pet owner to do?

Some pet owners will offer large sums of money to cover potential damages to flooring  and lobby carpets.   Some large dog owners will fudge the pet’s weight and breed to gain entrance to a building.  Some co-op boards require interviews and references for the pet (see our article Board Interview for Pets ).  Pet-friendly co-ops and rental buildings have many restrictions on pets.  Many pet-owners are devoted to a certain breed, and choosing a different (smaller) breed is hardly a compromise in their eyes.

During the market slump when many landlords were desperate to fill vacancies, you could move an elephant into your apartment.  Now that the market is tight, landlords are choosier.    Restrictions on pets have become the norm, especially with large dogs and certain breeds like Dobermans and Rottweilers.   In almost all cases approval is required for more than two animals. 

Buildings generally have rules for many reasons.  People are frightened of animals, especially big scary looking pets; there are concerns about property damage; barking disturbs the peace of other residents; jumping and nipping make people uncomfortable; and multiple cats can cause unpleasant odors.   Add to that that there are millions of people with fears, phobias and allergies, and it’s little wonder that pets are becoming even more of an issue.

There are generally exceptions to the rules.  Service dogs for people with disabilities can be allowed with proper documentation.  If the pet owner can provide proof the animal is trained as a service animal and documentation from a licensed medical professional, they might get a waiver. 

 To a pet owner, the pet is part of the family.  Finding a place for them can be frustrating and heartbreaking often causing the owner to pass on an otherwise great place for the humans to live. Nearly half the apartments that would be otherwise acceptable will be taken out of consideration if you have pets.  Patience, persistence and compromise are required when looking for an apartment when apartment hunting with Fluffy or Fido.


Based on New York Times article.

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