New York City Pet Law Gives You the Right-After Three Months- to Live with Your Pet Regardless of What Your Lease or Landlord States. Also, Federal and State Laws Give You the Legal Right to Reside with Your Emotional Support Animal or Physical Support Animal Regardless of Any Lease Clause to the Contrary.
In New York City regardless of a lease clause to the contrary, tenants have the right to reside with their dogs, cats or other domesticated pets in their apartment. In order to enforce this benefit, the tenant is required to live with his/her pet for a period of 90 days. The pet cannot be secreted. The pet must be housed in a reasonable manner in the same manner as any pet is housed, i.e. a dog must be walked on a regular basis, After three months, the tenant then has the right to keep the dog. It is irrelevant whether or not the landlord actually knew about the pet. The test involves whether the pet was housed in the customary manner and whether the owner should reasonably known of the existence of the pet. So as to prove that the tenant has the right to benefit from the pet law, it's advisable that the tenant document the date that the pet arrived at the apartment, possibly with proof of purchase or adoption, and photograph the pet in the public areas of the building as the three month threshold period progresses.
The text of the pet law follows:
§27-2009.1 Rights and responsibilities of owners and tenants in relation to pets.
a. Legislative declaration. The council hereby finds that the enforcement of covenants contained in multiple dwelling leases which prohibit the harboring of household pets has led to widespread abuses by building owners or their agents, who knowing that a tenant has a pet for an extended period of time, seek to evict the tenant and/or his or her pet often for reasons unrelated to the creation of a nuisance. Because household pets are kept for reasons of safety and companionship and under the existence of a continuing housing emergency it is necessary to protect pet owners from retaliatory eviction and to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of tenants who harbor pets under the circumstances provided herein, it is hereby found that the enactment of the provisions of this section is necessary to prevent potential hardship and dislocation of tenants within this city.
b. Where a tenant in a multiple dwelling openly and notoriously for a period of three months or more following taking possession of a unit, harbors or has harbored a household pet or pets, the harboring of which is not prohibited by the multiple dwelling law, the housing maintenance or the health codes of the city of New York or any other applicable law, and the owner or his or her agent has knowledge of this fact, and such owner fails within this three month period to commence a summary proceeding or action to enforce a lease provision prohibiting the keeping of such household pets, such lease provision shall be deemed waived.
c. It shall be unlawful for an owner or his or her agent, by express terms or otherwise, to restrict a tenant’s rights as provided in this section. Any such restriction shall be unenforceable and deemed void as against public policy.
d. The waiver provision of this section shall not apply where the harboring of household pet causes damage to the subject premise, creates a nuisance or interferes substantially with the health, safety or welfare of other tenants or occupants of the same or adjacent building or structure.
e. The New York City housing authority shall be exempt from the provisions of this section.
If a tenant has a physical or mental disability, the tenant is entitled to live with a service dog or emotional support dog regardless of any prohibition in the tenant’s lease.
Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act, landlords are required to make reasonable accommodations for individual with actual or perceived disabilities. Therefore if a health care professional attests to the fact that a tenant or legal occupant requires a dog for either emotional or physical support, then that individual is entitled to reside in the apartment in question with their service dog, regardless of any lease provision to the contrary. Additionally, in a disability situation the three month limitation is not applicable.
We are very experienced Tenant Rights Attorneys and have successfully represented numerous pet owners in connection with their legal rights concerning their pets and their right to live with their pets in their apartments. We offer complimentary consultations. Please contact our office at 212-921-1600 to schedule your complimentary no-obligation consultation.