By Anessa V. Cohen

Whether you are opting to rent an apartment or a house, figuring out what will work when household pets are involved takes extra consideration.

If you are a renter, finding a place that will allow you to also include a pet in your household is getting harder and harder. Most cooperative buildings and even many condominiums do not allow pets of any kind in their units, and this is usually mandated in their guidelines.

Many would-be tenants with pets who are looking for new rental space have to first find available rental units and buildings that allow pets. Some buildings that do allow pets only allow small pets, so where does a pet owner with a collie or German shepherd go when looking for that elusive unit?

When financially feasible, it is not unusual for pet owners who having gotten burned out with looking for rentables to go house-hunting. Obviously buying a house comes without rules of whether or not you can own a pet, and even those homeowners who really did not want to own but preferred to rent cave in and buy a house rather than give up a family pet that is not allowed in many places.

Years ago, it was more unusual to hear about buildings having rules about not allowing pets, and it was the norm to see people going in and out of buildings with dogs of all sizes and apartment dwellers with one or even a dozen cats meowing around the apartment. So why has there been this significant change over time with building guidelines not allowing household pets, as well as house rentals which specify up front “no pets allowed”?

The main reason this has come into play is what I call pet owner behavioral patterns. You have all kinds of pet owners just as you have all sizes and shapes of dogs and cats. When a pet owner is considerate of his or her neighbors and makes sure that the behavior of the pet does not infringe on the neighbor’s privacy, there is obviously not such a big problem. But, unfortunately, you have many pet owners who are oblivious to their pet’s behavior–barking continually at all hours of the day and night, jumping on strangers when being walked, even on a leash, not to mention those who might take a dislike to someone and attack or bite them for no obvious reason.

Even if a dog behaves well, if a pet owner takes a dog walking regularly each day and does not observe the courtesy the law demands to pick up after it, other tenants in the building end up suffering and their quality of life is affected by the discourtesy of that pet owner.

Unfortunately, as with other issues in life, people who are considerate sometimes have to pay the price of those who are inconsiderate. Since none of the building personnel want to be constantly chasing after pet owners and warning them of their responsibilities, more and more buildings have added guidelines to their tenant rules not allowing pets to reside in their apartments. This way they do not have to be the pet police.

This, of course, has made finding places more difficult for pet owners and especially frustrating for those pet owners who have always taken the added time to try being considerate of their neighbors when taking care of or walking their pets.

Those who opt to buy houses in order to house their pets with no outside guidelines still need to be considerate of those around them. Even when you purchase a house, you live next to neighbors who also value their space and privacy, and when walking your dog you need to be thoughtful of those around you. Having a pet is a big responsibility, but it is yours, not your neighbor’s!

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to




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