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Advice for dog owners looking for a New York City apartment

Apartments and other rental properties in New York City have become more receptive to residents with pets than they were in the past. However, for dog owners in particular, searching for a place that will accept your four-legged family member can still be a challenge. This is particularly true for people with larger dogs and breeds like pit bulls who are (often unfairly) deemed to be dangerous.

Dog owners have been known to shave a few pounds off their pet's actual weight on the application, not disclose that at least one of the dog's parents was likely a pit bull and perhaps administer a mild sedative before the dog meets the co-op board. Sometimes, they're required to provide veterinary records and even references that their dog is well-behaved.

With the increasing popularity of service dogs to help people with everything from physical disabilities to anxiety disorders, it may be possible to get a pet into a "no pet" building if you can show that you need that animal to deal with your disability.

Of course, it's easier to find a place who will allow you to have one or more fur children when the real estate market isn't doing well. As one property company executive put it, "In the winter of 2008-2009, when the market was in free-fall, you could basically move a dinosaur into your apartment because many landlords were desperate to fill vacancies." As the housing market has rebounded, so has the ability of landlords to be particular about their tenants.

Those who own or manage buildings with no-pet or restricted pet policies aren't necessarily anti-animal. They may have legitimate concerns about liability issues if a dog bites someone or other tenants who may have allergies are just plain scared of dogs. Potential damage to the property may also be a concern. However, pet owners may be required to put down a larger deposit to cover any damage their pet may cause to their home.

Regardless of whether you are a property owner or a renter, if you have questions or concerns about New York City ordinances and how they apply to pets, an experienced real estate attorney can offer advice.

Source: New York Times, "What Pet Owners Must Do to Get New York Apartments," Constance Rosenblum, accessed Aug. 24, 2016

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