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The Search for Pet Friendly Apartments


Mastering the doggie interview

New York City is a great place to have a pet. There are countless pet friendly apartments — as well as pet friendly restaurants and stores, and bakeries dedicated to selling only gourmet pet food. Every neighborhood has its veterinarians, including Blue Pearl Pet Hospital for emergencies with four locations. 

If you have a pet and are looking to buy a New York city condominium or co-op  — pay close attention to the building rules. 

If on the other hand you’re looking to rent, a building may be pet friendly, but that does not guarantee the owner of the apartment you’re looking at will rent to a pet owner. 

As we honor National Pet Day on April 11, we wanted to demystify pet policies in New York City. Here are our tips for finding a home for you and your fur baby.

Understanding Pet Policies

Every building will have a written pet policy as part of their house rules. Some may limit the number of pets to two — or perhaps a limit of three pets but only two dogs. Each building has its own variation. There are other buildings which list, “no notorious breed of dogs,” allowing the board more discretion if a dog becomes aggressive and causes problems.

Do not assume a building allows dogs simply because you see someone enter or leave the building with fido in tow. Some buildings have decided to no longer allow dogs, but they must “grandfather” in existing dogs. 

Then there is the legal obligation to allow emotional support and service animals regardless of the policy. We sold an apartment recently in a “no dog” building yet the buyers had a service dog. One of their children has a medical issue and the dog has been trained to alert the parents if there is a problem even in the middle of the night. The dog can smell the problem before it becomes life threatening. 

Be careful not to assume your neighbor’s exception to the building’s no dog policy is frivolous. Dogs today are trained to do far more than search and rescue.

What size and breed is your dog?

You will notice no one ever asks about the size and breed of a cat as they mostly stay indoors but they will ask about the size and breed of a dog. Why? Because dogs are likely to be in the elevator anywhere from one to four times a day. There are many buildings which will welcome dogs but limit the size of the dogs via weight restrictions. Common thresholds are 30 or 50 pounds. 

In helping one of our clients find a home for herself and her 80-pound dog, Sunny, we were challenged to find a home she wanted in the neighborhood in her price range. We ultimately did and today Sunny and his person are incredibly happy living only a few blocks from a terrific dog park where they both have made new friends. 

Another buyer had a gorgeous Golden Retriever. In our search, we discovered some buildings require pet owners to only use the service elevator while they are transporting their dog. Our owner did not feel comfortable with the policy as she felt one of her family members, albeit four legged, was being slighted! After all, the dog does a wonderful job watching over their two small children earning his place in the family.

Understand the Doggie Interview

Many New York City Co-ops will have an interview for you and for your dog! There are even buildings who insist on weighing your dog, so please be honest on the application. If you have a younger dog who is likely to become excited by the prospect of meeting (and sniffing) a room full of new people, try taking the dog for an exhaustive walk before you get to the interview and do not forget the treats. 

If you know your dog has a barking problem it may become an issue, so understand that no matter where you choose to live, if the noise is causing a great disturbance to your neighbors, you will have to correct the behavioral issue. The good news is there are many excellent dog trainers who can help your dog feel more comfortable in their new home when you are not there.

Inquire about Dog Parks

Despite individual buildings having pet restrictions, New York City is a wonderful place to own and be a dog. There are dog parks, off leash hours, plenty of dog walkers and even gourmet dog food stores. The best part of being an NYC dog might be the parks. Anyone who has ever visited the off-leash hours in Central Park knows there is a ton of canine fun to be had. What can be better than running free and chasing a ball with your friends? 

The New York City council has a list of NYC Parks which have dog runs. In Manhattan alone there are 28 dog parks with three of them offering off-leash times. Do be aware of which hours are off leash as unleashing your dog outside those times can result in a ticket.

The Boland Team is happy to report that between us we currently have five dogs! To say we are pet friendly is an understatement. We would be remiss if we failed to point out that those of you looking for a furry companion should consider adopting.

The ASPCA is highly active in New York City. You can view the available pets for adoption online and there are even Mobil adoption centers and locations where you can meet the pets in person. Pets have a way of knowing who their person should be so once you have found your pet friendly building show up at the ASPCA and let your future pet find you. We promise you will find more love and joy in your life as a result.