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Beware dog lovers: While it's certainly not impossible, finding a home for any dog, let alone a large one, can be a challenge in this city. Truth is, it’s rare for NYC buildings to allow dogs over 50 pounds.
If you're looking for a big-dog-friendly rental, start your search early, somewhere around two to three months before you need to move. These apartments don’t come around that often, and a lot of people are after them.
If you're buying, you'll likely find that condos, in particular, and even co-ops can be more lenient about big dogs than rentals. (Heads up to subletters of co-ops or condos: sometimes dogs are only permitted for owners, not renters of co-ops and condos). But take note: Some co-op boards will require that prospective buyers bring the dog in for an “interview."
Whether you’re hunting for a rental or will need co-op board approval, you’ll want to get references for your dog (from a previous landlord or former neighbors) attesting to good behavior, plus a letter from the vet showing that shots are up to date. Your pet may also need a biographical sketch, listing “hobbies” and showing pictures of daily life. These go a long way toward humanizing your dog and gives a clearer view of their personalities—and, consequently, how they might behave in a building.
"Make sure your dog is licensed, and that you've got vet records," says one New York City broker. Also, inform your real estate agent right away if you have a large dog. They know NYC buildings better than anyone and often can tell you right off the bat which buildings have weight restrictions, and which don't.
Need help finding a rental, co-op or condo that will welcome your large dog? A pup-friendly neighborhood your dog will love as much as you do? Put your search into the expert hands of Triplemint, whose agents have helped hundreds of pets and their owners find the perfect New York City apartment. Sign up here, and they will charge a broker's fee of 10 percent of a year's rent on open listings versus the usual 12 to 15 percent. Bonus: The agents at Triplemint are a delight to deal with.
Keep in mind that even those buildings that allow larger dogs will often have restrictions on what are considered aggressive breeds like pitbulls, German shepherds and Dobermans. And almost all limit the number of dogs to one or two at most.
Also, knowing your dog is of utmost importance in selecting the right space. “If your dog jumps at any noise, don’t look for an apartment near the elevator or on the lobby floor. If he’s older, steer clear of walk-ups,” says Bradbury, as stairs can be hard on aging hips.
Many buildings’ pet policies are on a case-by-case basis, so it’s worth asking the leasing agent what their policy is before ruling anything out. One managing agent for co-ops, who asked to remain anonymous, tells us that pet weight restrictions are often negotiable. "Everything is subject to the board's review," he says. "They can make exceptions."
Among buildings that do accept large dogs, many require a pet deposit--most commonly around $500, but can go up to an additional month’s security in a rental. Often there are also non-refundable pet fees, too.
To assist your search, here's a rundown of some NYC rental buildings and management companies that allow bigger dogs. (Remember, if you're thinking of renting someone's condo or co-op, make sure that renters are allowed to have dogs, too.)
MiMA, 442 West 42nd Street. Weight limit: 75 pounds. The building also features Dog City, a pet spa featuring indoor and outdoor play spaces, grooming facilities, on and off-site vet care, pet training, dog walking, pet play dates and more.
15 William Beaver House, 15 William Street. A condo-rental hybrid. Weight limit: 40 pounds; no more than two dogs, up to 40 pounds each. (It also has an outdoor dog run.)
The Brooklyner, 111 Lawrence Street. No weight limit. The building also has dog-washing stations. It's owned by Equity Realty, which has several buildings that allow for bigger dogs (see their dog-friendly apartments here).
The Related Companies: This management company runs high-end rentals across Manhattan and one in Roosevelt Island. Weight limit: 75 pounds
TF Cornerstone: This company's rental portfolio includes buildings across Manhattan and in Long Island City. Weight limit: 50 pounds.
Rockrose: This company's portfolio includes rental buildings in downtown and midtown Manhattan and Long Island City. Weight limit: 50 pounds.
This story was originally posted on June 13, 2012, and updated with new information on October 6, 2015.