It's a Dog's Life Pet Rules & Restrictions

Daisy Okas works for the American Kennel Club and obviously loves dogs, so when she was looking for an apartment for herself and Olive, her six-year-old beagle, there was no negotiation—she had to live in a pet-friendly building.

When Barbara Fox, president of Fox Residential Group in Manhattan, and her husband decided to move from their single family home into a building, they had to find one that would accept their four dogs and two cats as well.

Animal Fair magazine just named New York City—with its vast array of pet spas, hotels, and grooming salons—one of the most pet-friendly tourist destinations in the country, and both Okas and Fox found buildings that welcomed their furry family members. However, both say that finding a building that accepts pets in New York City is not as easy as it sounds—in many residential buildings, pets simply aren’t allowed.

Pet Peeves

Why wouldn’t a co-op building want to allow Fido and Fluffy to take up residence? “There are noise and mess factors,” says Fox. “And of course there’s a risk factor that a dog might harm someone.”

Michael Signet, director of sales at Manhattan-based brokerage Bond New York says that about half the buildings in New York are pet-friendly, but there aren’t any definite statistics. A number of buildings tentatively allow animals, but come with various restrictions. “Some buildings allow [dogs], but the owner must have a $500,000 liability policy in case the dog bites,” says Signet. “They may also require that a dog weigh under 20 pounds, or may allow each household to keep only one dog.”

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16 Comments

  • Bob Marino, president NYCdog.org on Monday, June 30, 2008 10:19 PM
    The New York Council of Dog Owner Groups / NYCdog (pronounced NICE-DOG) represents almost 50,000 responsible dog owners throughout NYC. We will gladly work with any rental/coop/condo building to devise workable, enforceable pet rules that will allow residents to own pets while also INCREASING property values. While president of NYCdog, I also have been a real estate consultant for over 25 years. We invite anyone to contact us and to check us out. Our websites are NYCoffleash.com and NYCdog.org (under construction). Email us at RAMnyc2000@yahoo.com. Responsible pet policies can increase property values as much as 10% by increasing the potential market for renters and buyers. Dogs and cats do not damage properties as a rule, and licensed/vaccinated dogs that are socialized are safe. In fact, dog bites are at an all time low in NYC because people have learned proper animal care. Good policies help everyone and including those afraid or allergic to pets. Our motto is Responsible, Respectful Sharing of Our City.
  • Please be very careful about the use of the phrase "companion animal". Under the law, a companion animal is NOT a service animal. Companion animal is most often applied to a PET. A service animal is specially trained to perform tasks for its disabled owner and has much different rights under the law.
  • Visit "Resources -- Access" on Guide Dogs for the Blind's website for information about laws protecting people with disabilities who have service animals. Our resources section also provides information on responsible dog ownership.
  • I live in a Condo building, which is 2/3 own by a single owner. Pets are allowed in the building, but the board wants to have a policy that the pets should be using the service elevator. If a pet owner doesn't comply with this rule, what should be done.? Please reply at cer@corcoran.com
  • Gary Andriotis (All Area Realty Services) on Thursday, November 13, 2008 11:48 AM
    Excellent Article. Great Info!!
  • It's silly to ban dogs and cats from coop buildings. Rental buildings are a different story -- the interior of the apartment can be damaged by the pet and the landlord may not want to deal with that. But coops? The Board has no ownership of the interior space and so really the only concern is noise and behavior in common spaces -- and both are able to be dealt with by responsible pet owners. Otherwise, the no-pet rules have been used by Boards against tenants they want out for other reasons. We all know that some boards can be tyrannical, and these lifestyle rules tend to be their favorite whips.
  • I live in a wooded area with trails all along the Bronx River parkway. I lost my job and dad at the same time, suffer from depression and anxiety just recently been diagnosed with cancer. For four years now I have been requesting a small service dog. I now have Four letters from doctors. The main board member is against any dogs in this building. I have requested help from HUD and others to no avail. I first moved into this building prior to it becoming a co-op some 35 yrs. prior with two children two dogs and a cat. Dogs and cat all had bathes every Friday weather they need it or not. Having a small dog to love and have me get up in the mornings to walk would be a godsend.
  • i feel that if a person wants pets then they need to live in a pet friendly environment. I have a neighbor who wants a big service dog but she is unable to clean up after the dog, there is no yard so the dog will be relieving itself in the common area. she has 4 cats and now want s a dog. The bldg. has a no pet policy because of the small space and no where for a dog to be let out. She is handicapped and can't walk a dog, or clean up ater it. She also can not afford to hire someone to do so. This should not be the neighbors responsiblity. What do you think?
  • I bought my co op because no dogs are allowed. I am deathly afraid of dogs and shouldn"t have to live in fear because people treat their animals like people. I was bitten by a dogs who's owner said it was friendly and wouldn't hurt a fly. I learned my lesson. I do not want to live any where near any knid of dog and I should have that option. I also do not want to contend with dog owners who do not clean up after them. I do not want to worry about walking to my car and stepping in some ones dog mess.
  • I live in a rental building for almost 3 years now. The policy when i moved in was no dogs allowed. About 6 months ago they changed the oplicy to dogs allowed now for a 500 deposit. I have seen like 6 dogs in the building now so i decided to get a small maltese. The super told the landlord and i was advised to remove my dog . He said that new policy is only for new tenants. That is so unfair. Why do only the new tenants allowed to own dogs and we cant. So unfair. I dont want to get rid of my dog i am attached. What do i do?
  • Do most pet-friendly coops in NYC charge dog owners an extra fee? What is the rationale for the fee?
  • I find that lower priced coops do not allow dogs. This is very discriminatory to less wealthy people who love animals or may need the support of a pet. Many coops apartments are empty because people are tired of spending their life savings only to be told what to do in their home. Legislation is needed.
  • I'm very curious what dog policies exist in ohter coops. I'm President of the Board in a 56 unit building in Manhattan. We're considering limiting size to 20 pounds or number of dogs to one, requiring dogs to be leashed when not in their units... We're not sure what is "typical,' if that exists. What do other buildings do?
  • Is it legal for a co-op to implement a fee of $25 per month for having a dog? When the co-op was questioned as to how the money would be used, the answer was "it was for the privilege of having the dog"?
  • Dear Bob Marino, I would like you to answer the same question for me as was posted before. "Is it legal for a co-op to implement a fee of $25 per month for having a dog? When the co-op was questioned as to how the money would be used, the answer was "it was for the privilege of having the dog"? My situation, I am a shareholder in Brooklyn co-op for over 15 years. The co-op is pet-free Coop on paper but there are are about 10 dogs in the building including the super himself. During an April's co-op Board meeting with shareholders, it was stated that the number of dogs has increased and complaints about allergies, noise, etc. from residents have risen as well. The fee is to discourage new tenants/shareholders to move in with any more pets and so all the shareholders with OLD or NEW pets must pay $25 month to be fare for all. As per the Pet Law it provides that once a pet lives in a multiple dwelling units—open and notoriously for three or more months, then any no-pet clause in a lease is considered waived and unenforceable. >>> As per Pet Law, moving forward is the co-op allowed to implement any named dollar amount anyway on old pets at any moment in time?
  • is it legal for condo board members to impose fines on animal owners at their discretion...raise them whenever they choose?