My daughter likes to bring her dog when she comes to visit me, but my co-op says she is no longer allowed to do so. Can a co-op require special permission for a family member to visit with their pets or even forbid it entirely?
"A cooperative board would have the authority to set the rules and regulations for the operation of its building, and banning guests from bringing pets into the building would be within a board’s authority to decide," says Jeffrey Reich, a partner in the law firm of Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas.
A co-op's pet policies should be outlined in the building's house rules—a good reason to take a close look before you move in. Many co-ops do forbid pets over a certain size, or have specific rules preventing owners from bringing pets into common spaces.
Your co-op's rules for pets may seem especially strict, but the board is within its rights to uphold them. The only legal exception is for service animals.
"If the dog is an emotional support animal or service animal, the owner needs to bring the official paperwork which verifies this fact," says Deanna Kory, a broker with Corcoran. "In that case, I would make sure that the management knows about a visiting emotional support animal visit in advance, just to be safe."
Consult the city's rules for emotional support animals in residential buildings
If your daughter's dog doesn't fit this criteria, your other recourse is a political one. You and your fellow shareholders could appeal to the board at the annual meeting, or call for a special meeting, and ask members to reconsider these rules.
"There is the possibility of voting in a new board, which supports a more liberal approach to the guest animal issue," Reich says.
Trouble at home? Get your NYC apartment-dweller questions answered by an expert. Send your questions to [email protected].
For more Ask an Expert questions and answers, click here.
You Might Also Like