Pet owners are less likely to suffer depression, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure than their pet-less peers, but pet ownership seems like a luxury for many New York City renters. The local real estate market certainly doesn’t make it easy on apartment dwellers, but there are ways that you can enjoy the perks of pet ownership in a New York City apartment.
How to Find Pet-Friendly Apartments
Finding an apartment in New York City is enough hassle when it’s just for humans, but when you throw in a four-legged friend, it’s even more challenging. Also when renters do find pet-friendly apartments, they run into obstacles such as breed and weight restrictions. However, there are ways to make your apartment search less stressful and more productive.
Both pet-friendly and pets-allowed apartments will allow tenants and owners to keep pets. Pet-friendly dwellings are the best options, as they embrace pets and make life comfortable for them with extra features like on-site doggy daycares and pet waste stations.
Pets-allowed apartments tolerate pets, although management will typically only approve pets that adhere to breed and weight restrictions. These restrictions may be relaxed if you can show proof that your pet would suit the apartment, such as references or obedience training certificates. You could also be asked to pay an additional month of the security deposit for keeping your pet on the premises.
Have References Available
Just like when you’re applying for a job, your pet may have to have an interview to move into an apartment, and you’ll need stellar references to get them accepted. When you’re putting together recommendations for your pet, consider statements from past landlords or neighbors, your veterinarian, and your groomer. Also, include any proof of obedience classes your dog was in.
Finally, provide documentation on the health of your pet. Many landlords worry about fleas and property damage. Provide documents from your veterinarian that shows your pet is taking flea prevention medicine. Be sure to provide reports that prove he or she is spayed or neutered, and therefore is calmer and less likely to destroy property.
Be Ready to Pay More
Unfortunately, there’s no getting around the fact that you will pay more for having a pet live with you. Most buildings will typically require a pet deposit above and beyond the regular security deposit. In New York, the average pet deposit is around $500; however, you can try to negotiate this down by proving you’re a responsible pet owner.
Use All Your Resources
The best people to ask about pet-friendly housing options are other pet owners. Visit the dog park and ask if they can offer tips on which buildings to look at, and the best property managers to speak to. Additionally, it’s possible that the Humane Society can provide information about apartments that accept pets. There are also websites explicitly devoted to maintaining lists of pet-friendly apartment buildings around the city.
Get Creative with Pictures
When Angela Allarde and her husband were looking for a new apartment with their 13-month-old daughter and their dog, they knew they were going to run into problems. The rescue agency where they got the dog called him an American Staffordshire terrier, but most people considered him a pit bull. After getting turned down multiple times because of the breed of their dog, the Allardes were losing hope. Then, Angela had the bright idea to take pictures of their dog playing with their young daughter for their interviews.
Know the Pet Law
If you’ve got your heart set on an apartment with a no-pet clause, then it’s essential to know the NYC Pet Law, which might override this regulation. According to the law, a tenant or apartment owner cannot be evicted if they have “openly and notoriously” kept a pet for three or more months, the landlord and his agent knew or should have known about the pet, and the landlord had not started a court case to enforce the no-pet clause. The Pet Law applies to tenants living in buildings with at least three apartments, the owners of cooperative apartments in all five boroughs, and condo owners in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
You have some control over the first two requirements. You shouldn’t hide your pet during repairs or maintenance or pretend he’s a stray that you’re trying to rehome. If you own a dog, you should walk him during high-traffic times to make your neighbors aware of him. However, the third requirement is where things get risky. It’s difficult to judge whether a landlord will start proceedings to have you evicted, so your plan could backfire. However, you’ll have a better chance of your landlord turning a blind eye if you choose an appropriate pet that isn’t disruptive or destructive.
Be a Good Neighbor
Apartment dwellers need to be considerate to those around them. That means considering not just your impact on your neighbors, but your pet’s impact as well.
If your dog has a problem with barking, try strategies like getting a barking collar or signing him up for obedience classes. He might also bark out of boredom, so make sure he gets plenty of exercises and has toys to play with. Ask your neighbors whether your pooch is annoying them, as lonely dogs often bark when their owners are out.
Apartment cats and dogs are also best kept indoors, so they don’t annoy neighbors or hunt local wildlife.
So don’t despair, pet owners. With some careful research and consideration for others, you needn’t give up your pet to live happily in a New York City apartment.