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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Rental Building News and Offers

New Yorkers have always loved their pets - a recent study from the New York City Economic Development Council found that there are approximately 600,000 dogs and 500,000 cats in the city - and that was taken to a new level at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, when a pet adoption boom took hold. Dog-walking gave people a reason to venture out during lockdown, cats spiced up Zoom calls, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. According to statistics from lifestyle brand Bark Buildings, Millennials constitute 80 percent of pet-owning residences in the United States; additionally, 48 percent of Millennials and Generation Z intend to adopt a pet in the next year.

"Guess what happens when property managers start prioritizing pet owners? They see higher rents, better retention and what we call the halo effect: the property becomes more appealing to other demographics." - Danit Zivan, Co-Founder, Bark Buildings

With such realities in mind, developers and property managers are working to accommodate this demographic. A report from November 2020 found that some New York City landlords became more flexible with their pet policies and weight limits, a move that helped drum up new business in several cases. Additionally, Bark Buildings has announced a new program to bring its amenities and concierge-style services - educational resources, community engagement tools, treat jars, and welcome gifts among them - to multi-family buildings across the country, having gotten its start in Jersey City in 2016.

At any time, some New Yorkers would no sooner move into a new place without their furry friend than parents would move in without their children. This article presents everything people need to know about finding a building that welcomes pets, how to prepare for the move, and what types of animals may and may not be kept in New York City. We also look at some of the pet-friendliest buildings in the five boroughs.

Pet-friendly buildings

When a listing indicates that a New York building allows pets, this could refer to any number of attitudes. Some buildings tolerate dogs’ presence in units but restrict them to the service elevator, while others have door staff who greet the dogs by name and have treats on hand. Either way, just because a building allows pets does not mean residents may own as many animals as they want. “Pet-friendly” usually refers to one dog or two cats; board approval may be required for more than that.
If a formerly pet-friendly building decides to change its policy, it is likely that the pets already living there will be grandfathered in and allowed to stay. And all hope is not lost for people living in pet-free buildings: According to the New York City Pet Law, owners in a pet-free building may keep their pets without consequence if they have openly had the animal for three months or more without the landlord citing them or seeking eviction.
277-Fifth-Avenue-01 It's up to pet owners to decide whether to allow dogs on the bed, but they are obligated to follow buildings' rules. (277 Fifth Avenue via Kenneth Chen)
But when a building welcomes pets, that does not mean the animals are allowed to wreak havoc. The majority of apartment buildings require pets to be on leashes or in carriers for walks through the lobby, and some ban animals from amenity space like lounges and roof decks altogether. If a pet has an accident on the way outside, the onus is on its owner to clean up the droppings.

In the apartments themselves, pet owners are responsible for keeping their animals well-groomed to avoid flea infestations and damage to floors for overly long nails. They are also responsible for addressing and responding to complaints about their pets’ excessive noise and/or aggressive behavior towards other residents and other pets.
It is important to mention that these rules apply both to resident pets and animals who come to visit the building, whether for an afternoon or a weekend. If residents do not abide by them, they run the risk of eviction, losing some or all of their security deposit, or being forced to get rid of their pet.

21-West-End-Avenue-01 All images of 21 West End Avenue via Dermot

Pet Preparations and Restrictions

As animal lovers get ready to make a move, they should be prepared to submit their pets’ names, breeds, pictures, vaccination and spay/neuter records, and any complaints or behavioral issues to the building’s management or board. Some buildings are prepared to leave it at that, while certain co-ops have been known to require dogs, and even birds, to be part of the board interview to observe the animals’ behavior firsthand.
If everything goes well, pet owners should be expected to literally pay for the privilege. Many buildings charge monthly pet fees to counteract any damage the animal(s) might do to an apartment. Additionally, some pet owners have been asked to pay an extra deposit with that in mind.
Several buildings that allow dogs have weight limits in place. However, as anyone who’s seen a Great Dane at the dog run knows, it is possible to own a big dog in New York; their owners are simply advised to put more time and effort into their search. Other buildings have established breed bans. NYCHA banned pit bulls, Doberman pinschers, and Rottweilers, both purebred and mixed, from their developments in 2010, and some buildings are prepared to expand on that list and take enforcement seriously - an Upper West Side co-op attracted some notoriety for requiring dog DNA tests.

277 Fifth Avenue, NoMad
1 Beds from $1,905,000 | 2 Beds from $3,235,000 | 3 Beds from $5,760,000

Amenities include reward-based dog training, dog walkers providing real-time updates, and dog day care through the concierge service

277-Fifth-Avenue-02 277 Fifth Avenue via The Corcoran Group
277-Fifth-Avenue-04 Image via Kenneth Chen

Service and Emotional Support Animals

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, all housing providers, even those with a pet-free policy, must allow those with a disability to have their service animal with them. This term most commonly refers to guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, and dogs specially trained to work or perform tasks for people with other disabilities, including psychiatric.

Because of their extensive training, service dogs are considered working animals as opposed to pets, and buildings may not charge pet fees for them. However, their owners must still abide by rules about leashes, vaccinations, housebreaking, and pet behavior set by the building.
Service animals are permitted without question, but the road is a bit more slippery for emotional support animals, a term used to describe animals that have not received special training, but provide a therapeutic benefit through companionship for owners with mental illness. If a disability is not readily apparent, landlords and housing providers may require individuals to provide documentation on letterhead from a doctor or other healthcare professional explaining the need for an emotional support animal.

555TEN, 555 Tenth Avenue, Midtown West
Studios from $3,740 | 1 Beds from $5,100 | 2 Beds from $7,500 | 3 Beds from $11,895

Amenities include covered outdoor dog park and pet care and grooming from Throw Me a Bone

555-Tenth-Avenue-01 All images of 555TEN via Extell
555-Tenth-Avenue-01 New York City has gone to the dogs in the best way. (555TEN via Extell)

Exotic Pets

When a New York City building is described as “pet-friendly,” the term refers to domestic dogs, domestic cats, small birds, small caged animals like hamsters and gerbils, and certain kinds of reptiles that include non-snapping turtles smaller than 4 inches. Recent converts to urban farming should be advised that hens are allowed, but roosters are not. Additionally, following the legalization of beekeeping in 2010, renters may establish a honeybee hive as long as they register with the city and maintain a safe distance from the neighbors.
Now that we’ve covered what kind of pets are allowed, let’s take a look at the types of exotic pets that are not. Mayor Giuliani banned ferrets in 1999, despite the fact that this pet is legal in other parts of New York State, and the city failed to overturn the ban in 2015. Other members of the weasel family are unequivocally illegal to keep as pets, as are most farm and wild animals including, but not limited to, non-domestic dogs, non-domestic cats, venomous spiders, monkeys, many types of reptiles, predatory birds, and sea mammals. Most people would assume this goes without saying, but every now and then a clandestine cougar, tiger, or alligator emerges to prove otherwise.

460-West-42nd-Street-01 Images via Related

Where to Look

The right building for a pet depends very much on the animal’s temperament and activity level, but there are some constants. Dog owners would do well to look at buildings within walking distance of parks and/or dog runs. Those with older pets would be well advised to stick to elevator buildings so they don’t have to worry about navigating the stairs. Larger pets would naturally do better in an apartment with more square footage. And the pet-friendliest buildings of all may be amenity-rich new construction with offerings like dog runs, pet-washing stations, and on-call vet and pet-sitting service.
It should be noted that most items on this wish list apply to dogs. Cats are generally easier to tend to in New York than dogs, and more welcome - a 2018 study found that while there are myriad dog restrictions, there are very few on cats. However, our feline friends would be happiest in a home with oversized windows - they enjoy the sunlight and views as much as we do!

AVA DoBro, 100 Willoughby Street, Downtown Brooklyn
Studios from $3,363 | 1 Beds from $3,030 | 2 Beds from $5,112 | 3 Beds from $6,405

Amenities include WAG pet spa and outdoor dog run with separate big and small dog play areas, agility equipment, and heated pergola

100-Willoughby-Street-01 AVA DoBro via CityRealty
100-Willoughby-Street-02 Interiors via AvalonBay

Additional Info About the Building

Content Specialist Michelle Mazzarella Michelle is a contributing writer and editor for real estate news in New York City