The New York City Administrative Code § 27-2009.1, overrides a no-pet clause in a residential lease. Under the Pet Law a landlord has waived their right to enforce a no-pet clause if: (1) the tenant has kept a pet “openly and notoriously;” (2) the landlord or their agent (super) has known or should have known of the pet for three (3) months or more; and (3) the landlord does not begin court proceedings within three months of gaining knowledge of the pet.

 

The Pet Law applies to renters living in any of the five (5) NYC boroughs with three (3) or more apartments in the building and to owners of cooperative apartments.[1]Additionally, the Pet Law applies to condominium owners in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island[2], but not condo owners in Manhattan and the Bronx.[3]Finally, the Pet Law does not apply to New York City Housing Authority.

  

Meeting the Standard

It is imperative for pet owners to understand that simply keeping a pet for three (3) months is not sufficient to get the protections provided by the Pet Law. The landlord or their agent must have knowledge of the pet. In some cases, it may be enough that the landlord should have knownabout the pet. For example, if a landlord employs a doorman or a super who has seen the pet, a court may find that the landlord should have known about the animal’s presence.[4]This may also be true even if the agent of the landlord did not directly tell the landlord about the pet. In a larger apartment complex, it may be more difficult to prove that the super or doorman actually saw the pet. 

 

Which Pet Does the Pet Law Apply to?

 The Pet law only applies to the specific pet that was kept open and notorious for three (3) months; the Pet law does not apply to any subsequent pets that the owner gets. For example, if you have a pet protected under the Pet law and that pet dies, the Pet law does not protect any subsequent pets. 

 

What Should You Do if You Already Have a Pet?

As previously mentioned, in order to receive the protections under the NYC Pet Law, one must have kept the pet openly. This means that one does not hide the pet or deny ownership of the pet from the landlord or any of the landlord’s agents. Therefore, if one already has a pet in a no-pet clause apartment, one should keep the pet visible. This can include not hiding your pet when your landlord or super comes into your apartment for repairs or bringing your pet down to the lobby area for occasional walks. 

 

Additionally, if you currently have a pet in a no-pet clause apartment, it is important for you to start compiling evidence that will assist in future litigation. This evidence includes: (1) proof of the date you got your pet and brought it home; (2) dates and times when you took your pet to the lobby and who, if any saw you with your pet; (3) dates and times when the landlord or their agent came to your apartment and saw your pet.  

 

You do not have to give up your pet just because your landlord tells you. Only a judge can order you to give up your pet. If this is the case, it is important to seek legal counsel and our office at Singh Rani, LLP can help you.

 

The information above is intended to provide limited information only and is not legal advice. The laws relating to pets, and evictions in New York are complex. If you are a party to a matter concerning a pet and otherwise need further guidance in this or a related area of law, Singh & Rani, LLP can assist you.

SOURCES:

[1]Seward Park Housing Corp. v. Cohen, 287 A.D.2d 157, 162, 734 N.Y.S.2d 42, 48 (1st Dep’t 2001); Clearview Gardens v. Volpicelli, 213 A.D.2d 582, 624 N.Y.S.2d 930 (2d Dep’t 1995); Corlear Gardens Housing Company, Inc. v. Ramos, 126 Misc. 2d 416, 481 N.Y.S.2d 577 (Sup. Ct., Bx Cty. 1984) (Because cooperative housing was not explicitly excluded from coverage in the Pet Law statute, Pet Law applies to cooperative housing)

[2]Board of Managers v. Lamontanero, 206 A.D.2d 340, 616 N.Y.S.2d 744 (2d Dep’t 1991) (Because condominiums are not explicitly excluded from the term “multiple dwelling” for the purposes of the Pet Law, as buildings owned and managed by the New York City Housing Authority are, and because such an exclusion of condominiums would be substantively harmful to residents, Pet Law applies to condominiums). Decisions from the appellate courts in the Second Department apply to Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.

[3]5 Board of Managers of the Parkchester North Condominium v. Quiles, et al., 234 A.D.2d 130, 651 N.Y.S.2d 36 (1st Dept. 1996) (The Pet Law applies to “covenants contained in multiple dwelling leases,” but does not apply to condominiums because they constitute a form of fee ownership, where leases are not applicable). Decisions from the appellate courts in the First Department apply to Manhattan and the Bronx.

[4]Metropolitan Life Insurance Company v. Datta, N.Y.L.J. Jan. 29, 2002, Pg. 18, Co. 1 (App. Term 1st Dep’t); Adee Tower Apts., Inc. v. Levy, N.Y.L.J. May 27, 1998, Pg. 27, Co.1 (Civ. Ct.); Robinson v. City of New York, 152 Misc. 2d 1007, 579 N.Y.S.2d 817, (Sup. Ct., N.Y. Cty. 1991).

 

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Bikram Singh

Mr. Singh has been practicing law in the New York State and Federal Courts for almost 10 years. He was a principal attorney at Bikram Singh Law, P.C., after graduating with honors from Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in 2008.