Pets are family members, so it is only natural we want to take them with us everywhere. If you are moving to NYC, of course, your furry friend is coming with you! But now comes the hard part – finding a pet-friendly place. In this guide to apartment renting with a pet in New York City, we’ll provide you with advice on finding suitable housing and navigating NYC. Soon enough, you’ll be sleeping soundly in bed with your four-legged friend.
Moving With a Pet
Moving can be stressful, and moving with a pet multiplies that stress by two, at least. First, you need to pack up your old place and get your belongings ready for transfer. That is the easier part as you can hire professional movers to help you with every single detail.
On top of that, you need to prepare your pet for travel. Don’t forget to:
- Bring vaccination records
- Pack their favorite toy or anything with a familiar scent
- Have vet contact info in case of an accident
- Pack food, water, and treats
- Pack waste bags and a leash
Living with a Pet in NYC
Coming to the Big Apple, especially if this is your first time there, must be very exciting. However, don’t forget to do your homework. You need to get familiar with living with a pet in NYC. One thing is for sure – New Yorkers love their pets, so you probably won’t run into too many issues.
Getting Around with Your Pet
You pretty much don’t have to worry about getting around the city with your canine friend. Many taxis accept pets, and when it comes to Uber or Lyft, they are independent contractors, and you can probably find many animal lovers.
The subway is the primary method of transport in NYC, so you’ll be happy to know animals are allowed, but they have to be in carriers at all times and must not annoy other passengers. This, of course, doesn’t apply to service animals.
Not all restaurants and cafes are pet-friendly. But with a little bit of research, you can surely find somewhere you can spend quality time with both your human and animal friends. If you have a dog, you’ll be delighted to know that there are plenty of dog parks with dedicated no-leash areas. This is an excellent way to include more exercise into your dog’s life. However, make sure your pup is socialized to avoid any unpleasant situations at the park.
Keep in mind that there is a leash law in place. This means that dogs in public always have to be on a leash. The leash cannot be more than six feet long. Also, if you tether your pet for longer than three hours, you can get a fine as it’s illegal.
NYC Pet Law
This law was established in 1983 to protect NYC tenants with pets. Namely, there was an increase in disputes between landlords and tenants. There were many cases where tenants had pets, and landlords looked the other way for years only to evict them because they have a no-pet policy. Totally unfair, right? To make it even worse, it all happened so that landlords could make more money. At that time, the housing market was growing rapidly.
To stop this from happening, the NYC pet law was passed. What does this law entail? Basically, residents living in a building with three or more units are allowed to keep a pet, even if it is a no-pet building.
However, there are exceptions to this law, and pet-free zones do exist. The law doesn’t apply to condo owners in Manhattan and the Bronx. It doesn’t protect farm or exotic animals. Interestingly, ferrets are entirely illegal in NYC. Dangerous and “nuisance” animals aren’t protected, either.
If you have a service animal, in some cases, you’ll have to prove that the animal is actually providing a service. This can be pretty difficult if you, for example, have a pet companion who provides emotional support.
Regardless of these exceptions, NYC pet law has provided a reasonable frame for tenants and landlords to achieve the most suitable agreement for everyone.
Finding a Pet-Friendly Apartment
Around 75% of buildings in New York City don’t allow pets. But one of the very few good things the global pandemic has brought to NYC is that landlords have loosened their policies, so now more and more of them allow pets. The reason for this is that the number of vacant apartments has increased. On the other hand, pet adoption has boomed during the pandemic.
Having all of this in mind, it is getting easier to find a happy home for you and your pet. Below you can find some additional advice before you start apartment renting with a pet in New York City.
Know Your Pet
Owning a pet is a great responsibility, so you are probably aware there are dos and don’ts of taking care of an animal. With that said, you need to know your pet well to find the most suitable apartment.
Let’s say you have a dog that is elderly – you probably don’t want an apartment on the last floor in a no-elevator building. Or, if you have a large dog, you probably don’t want to rent a studio.
Your pet’s safety and well-being are of the utmost importance, so make sure that there are screens on all windows, especially if you choose a place on a higher floor. Both cats and dogs like to check how high up they really are (a “high-rise” syndrome), which can sometimes result in them falling over and hurting themselves (or worse). Therefore, it’s always a good idea to pet-proof any place you move into for your and your pet’s sake.
Prepare All Documents
Before you start searching for a place:
- Make sure your pet’s documentation is in order.
- Prepare all vaccination records – you will need them to rent an apartment and access dog parks or boarding facilities.
- If you are a dog owner, make sure your dog has a dog license. Wearing a license tag mandatory at all times.
It is also good to find ways to represent your pet’s best qualities to any prospective landlord. You can create a “resume” for your pet that you will provide together with other details. Fill in a resume with information about your pet and, if possible, include recommendations from your previous landlords, training certificates, and similar.
Don’t Rush and Hire a Real Estate Agent
The first rule when searching for living space, especially if you have a pet, is to not rush. Take as much time as possible to go through as many listings as you can. Try reaching out to family and friends. If some of them have pets and live in New York City, they might have a piece of advice to share, or they know someone who might. It’s a good idea to turn to social media and networking sites, too. Extensive research is a must before you make a decision this big.
Another thing you should consider is hiring a real estate agent. The more specific needs you have, the more difficult it will be to find a suitable place. In that case, expert help is what you need.
Not only do realtors have more experience in apartment searching – they also know how to negotiate with landlords. Even if a landlord has a no-pet policy, it doesn’t mean that they are unwilling to make an exception. Realtors that work with landlords and building managers know what kind of leeway they might have.
When you reach the point of signing a lease, make sure that everything you’ve agreed on is on paper. Verbal confirmations won’t help you if your landlord, all of a sudden, decides to evict you and your pet.
Apartment renting with a pet in New York City sounds more intimidating and complex than it is. You just need to follow several easy steps and rules. Then, you’re good to go. We appreciate how much your pet matters to you, and we sincerely hope our advice helped you find a wonderful home for you and your furry friend!
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