Know the Pet Policy Before You Move into That NYC Apartment

If you’re a pet owner, a building’s pet policy is critical to you and your four-legged loved ones. When looking for an apartment in NYC, it’s better that you know what a building’s policy is regarding pets before you fall in love with it.

Mention your pet situation right away when looking for an apartment.

If you’re working with brokers, tell them right off the bat that you have a pet. Once brokers know what they’re working with, they won’t waste your time steering you toward buildings that have strict anti-pet policies. Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I just won’t say anything because I want to see everything that’s out there. Plus, when building management sees how incredibly adorable and brilliant Mr. Fluffy is, they just won’t be able to say no!” You’d be surprised how many landlords can, in fact, resist the cuteness.

Read your lease carefully — many leases include a standard “no pets” clause.

You may have found the apartment of your dreams. The landlord even assured you that you could bring Duke the Doberman to your new home, but when you checked over the lease after you moved in, you noticed that there was a clause forbidding pets. You can probably relax — most standard leases have “no pets” language written into them, and many landlords use these standard lease template forms. Just make sure to double-check with your landlord. You can ask the landlord to initial your lease, which will indicate that the landlord knows that you have a pet and is fine with it.

Did you sneak your pet in?

You may have heard of the three-month rule regarding having pets in a building. This “Pet Law” essentially states that if you’ve kept your pet “openly and notoriously” in your no-pets building for three months and the landlord hasn’t said anything to you about removing it from the premises, you will probably be allowed to keep your pet.

Still, honesty (with cash incentives) is the better policy.

You’ll experience far less stress if you’re totally honest with your landlord up front. Before you take the apartment, try to negotiate a pet deposit with your landlord. Agree to have the floors or any part of the apartment professionally repaired if they’re damaged by your pet, and make sure that agreement is spelled out in your lease. The landlord-tenant relationship should be one filled with kindness and respect on both sides. If you show that you respect the property, landlords will probably be a lot more willing to work with you on their pet policy.

Image Source: Flickr/Lon Martin

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