Big dogs are not always a big problem in NYC--here's how to look (and where)

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Updated October 6, 2015 from a story first posted on June 13, 2012.

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. Among those that do, many require a pet deposit. Donna Bradbury, an agent with Corcoran who specializes in pet-friendly apartment hunts and has started a site called Pet Friendly Apartments NYC, says a pet deposit is most commonly and runs about $500, but can go up to an additional month’s security in a rental. (The site has up-to-date listings for pet-friendly apartments).

Often there are also non-refundable pet fees, too, Bradbury says, who suggests that anyone looking for a big-dog-friendly rental should start their search early, somewhere around two to three months before they need to move. “The apartments don’t come around that often, and a lot of people are after them,” she says.

Some management companies, like Related, are more open to larger dogs across the board; others, like Glenwood, have strict 15-pound limits for dogs. Condos, in particular, and co-ops can be more lenient about big dogs than rentals. (But if you're subletting, note that 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."

If you’re hunting for a rental or need 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. Bradbury says people tend to appreciate it; for lack of a better phrase, it humanizes them 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," reminds David Kahn, a broker with Citi Habitats who currently has a client with a dog that's over 50 pounds. Also, Kahn says, inform brokers 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.

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."

To assist your search, here's a rundown of some NYC buildings 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.  Rental. 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.)

Riverbank West,- 560 West 43rd Street. Rental. No weight limit. No more than two dogs per unit.

The Verdesian/Solaire, 211 North End Avenue. Rentals. Weight limit: 45 pounds.  One pet per apartment.

The Brooklyner111 Lawrence Street. Rentals: 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).

Some large management companies that welcome large dogs:

The Related CompaniesThis 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.

Related posts:

For animal lovers: How to find a pet-friendly building and live happily ever after

How to get your dog past a co-op board

How to get your landlord to accept your dog

NYC co-ops going to the dogs

5 great NYC neighborhoods...for dogs

Petiquette 101: Apartment manners for your dog


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