Some legal loopholes may be sending "no dog" policies in New York City buildings to the pound. NY1's Real Estate reporter Jill Urban filed the following report.
Dogs are members of the family to some and unwanted neighbors to others, so several buildings have a ban on four-legged pets. But these days, there are so many legal loopholes around no-dog polices that many co-ops are eliminating them.
"As a trend, it’s becoming much more common. The forces of change are pushing for allowing dogs because it has become impossible to prohibit them," says real estate attorney Dean Roberts of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus.
Roberts, who works with buildings to resolve doggie dilemmas, says changes to local and federal laws have left loopholes that make enforcing no-dog policies too difficult.
There are two main ways that dog owners can get around no-pet rules.
"The two major loopholes would be the pet law which is a 90-day rule that says
if a landlord doesn’t commence an action within 90 days, he waives the right to commence the action," says Roberts. "The other loophole is the Americans with Disabilities Act, which provides the landlord having to provide an accommodation which the dog is often deemed to be."
That means if someone gets a note from a doctor that they need dog for emotional support, no matter the condition, the dog must be permitted.
So instead of banning dogs altogether, many buildings are now leaning towards allowing them with strict set of regulations.
"The rules tend to be as to size, entering and leaving the building, behavior in the common areas. Some of the rules require dogs travel in freight elevators and as always, the landlord can reserve the right to bring a lawsuit if the dog is a nuisance," says Roberts.
Some buildings also have fees, registration requirements or even ask for extra insurance.
These rules mostly apply to co-ops. Condos do not have that landlord-tenant relationship so the circumstances are different. Rules in a rental can change whenever a lease is up.
As the policies change, a whole new set of issues could arise, like one person’s need for a pet versus another person’s need to avoid pets. But as buildings change with the times, they will have to adjust accordingly.