Complete Guide

for Smart Renters


Do you have a pet?

Dogs are difficult to have in a rental apartment. Many landlords are willing to accommodate tenants with cats or birds, but they draw the line with dogs. Dogs can easily annoy other tenants and no one wants tenants who are careless with their dog’s sanitation. Because the New York area is a very tight rental market, landlords can be choosy and will decline an otherwise stellar applicant who has a dog.

However, it’s not impossible to find an apartment for you and your dog. While many pet owners are among the most responsible tenants, the burden is on you to demonstrate that you have a well-behaved dog. You can do that by preparing a Dog Resume for the landlord:

  1. Have references from prior landlords, vets, and former neighbors about how well behaved your dog  and how responsible you’ve been as a pet owner.

•  Have an adorable photo of your pet to prove to the landlord that your dog is irresistibly adorable.

•  An ideal apartment dog has been neutered/spayed.

•  Offer to make a pet deposit. Be proactive – don’t wait for the landlord to ask for such a deposit.

  1. Offer to sign a pet agreement and sign it along with your lease.

What about cats?

You will find far more landlords willing to consider your application if you have a cat rather than a dog. But beware; there are still landlords who won’t allow any pet at all, even a cat or a bird. Our advice to you still stands; don’t try to sneak a cat or bird into your apartment if pets are prohibited by the lease. This can be grounds to evict you and New York courts will not be sympathetic to how cute your pet is.

TIP: If you own a dog, you'll often find a place more quickly if you're as flexible as possible on all the search parameters in your profile. Every listing includes a field indicating if the landlord will accept dogs or other pets.

FACT: If the landlord won’t accept pets, DO NOT TRY TO SNEAK A PET INTO YOUR APARTMENT AFTER YOU MOVE IN. This will be a breach of the lease and you can be evicted. Having an eviction action on your credit report will spoil your rental options far into the future.

TIP: It is possible that you landlord will accept your pet today, but at a later date, decide they no longer will allow pets in their building. It is their right to change building policies whenever they want. Therefore, you need to protect yourself from your landlord’s whims. Get permission for your pet in writing, in the lease. Their “word” is not enough. Get the permission in writing.

Cats and dogs, your best friends.

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