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Ask an Expert: Can my dog stay overnight in a no-pet building?

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Q. If my daughter buys a co-op in a no-pet building, will I be able to visit her overnight with my 35-pound Boston Terrier?  Does "no pets" means a dog cannot go in the building or stay for an occasional overnight?

A. Yes and no, say our experts.

"No pets means  no pets," says Roberta Axelrod, a real estate broker and asset manager at Time Equities who sits on many boards as a sponsor's representative.  "The only animals which are exempt are service animals, which are not considered pets."

That said, there are many co-ops that "will allow a visiting pet so long as arrangements are made prior to the pet's arrival--i.e. you let management know what is going on," explains co-op and condo attorney Dean Roberts of Norris McLaughlin & Marcus.

Even if the building doesn't explicitly consent to a canine sleepover, you and your daughter may not have much to worry about, says Roberts.

"The majority of cooperative proprietary leases use the language 'will not harbor a pet,'" he explains. "However, the term 'harbor' is never defined and while technically the presence of a dog in the apartment overnight would be a breach of that provision, it is unlikely to be enforced. The more pertinent question is how often you plan to visit your daughter. If it is twice a week, then it is much more of an issue than if it is twice a year."

If your dog is unused to vertical living--particularly behaving civilly in the close confines of an elevator--be sure that you and your daughter have apartment or homeowner's insurance.  

The average claim size for dogbites in New York City is around $10,000, says apartment insurance broker Jeff Schneider of Gotham Brokerage, and if you or your daughter are sued "you would typically be covered for dogbites under the personal liability section of your insurance policy."


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