When a No-Pet Policy Isn’t Really a No-Pet Policy

Q: I used to love my rent-stabilized apartment, where I’ve lived for a decade, until building management relaxed its strict no-pet policy. I have severe allergies and prefer not to live with other people’s pets. Suddenly, everyone has a dog. Despite my complaints about barking and dog hair trapped in the laundry machines, management insists that the building is not pet friendly. At this point, I’d like to move, but I just signed another two-year lease. Can I break my lease over the weakened pet policy?

A: Pet policies are not always as straightforward as they seem. Your lease might have a no-pet clause in it, but your neighbor’s may not. It’s certainly possible that the management has different rules for different tenants, or chooses to selectively enforce the rules.

“The landlord is free to allow some people to have pets,” and not others, said Samuel J. Himmelstein, a Manhattan lawyer who represents tenants. “What we often see is they will allow market-rate tenants to have pets and they won’t let stabilized tenants have them.”

Even if management does enforce a strict no-pet rule, there are still workarounds. Emotional support pets, for example, are permitted under city rules. Or, if a tenant openly has a pet for three months and management does not protest, the pet can stay.

Source link Real Estate

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