If you can't imagine moving into your new digs without Fifi or Fido along for the ride, Citi Habitats agent Donna Bradbury, who has placed a number of clients interested in buying or renting a pet-friendly apartment in the city, has some advice on just how to do it -- and yes, it can be done.
"Having a pet in Manhattan is sort of a privilege, kind of like driving," she says. "You have to take good care of it. Nine times out of 10, if you fit that bill you're gonna find a very nice apartment."
Read on for her expert tips.
Know the rules: "If you're looking to rent, it's much more important that the policies in the building are acceptable to you. If you're looking to buy, usually buildings are a smidgen more lenient on their pet policies -- because as a generality, people who own take better care of their properties than people who rent," Bradbury says. And do your homework: "Most buildings are case-by-case on pets, and some have restrictions on size, so you really want to know the building before you go to the trouble of apply and view there," she says. You can get info on pet-friendly apartments via your local ASPCA, vet's office, pet store or even a quick Google search of the building.
Be realistic about his or her needs: "You want to know your pet. Like, if you have a pet that gets a little jumpy with sound, you really don't want to be in the front of the building, right on the street, because that pet's gonna get nervous every time something jumps," Bradbury says. "Or right by the door, the top of the staircase -- you want to maybe go to the back of the building, not right in front of anything that's gonna jar the dog repeatedly."
Beyond cats and dogs
What if you have an unusual pet, like a snake?
"Be up front and honest, because you don't want to move into a place and then have a problem. Some buildings don't like fish tanks because they might break [and then] you have a flood. Snakes really aren't too much trouble; it's more of a problem with ferrets or pet rodents. You want to just really find a [suitable] place, because our pets are parts of our family."
Make a bio for your pet -- seriously!
Your pet may not be applying for a lease anytime soon, but he or she can help you land yours. The first step, as silly as it may sound, is to gather recommendation letters.
"You want to gather references for your pet: Your pet is well behaved, you take care of your pet, your pet doesn't run rampant all over the city," Bradbury says. "It shows the landlord you're coming into that you've taken care of your pet and people like you."
For references, hit up your landlord, your vet and a neighbor who lived directly above or below you. A note from a daytime caregiver can work on two levels. "Something that shows [you] can afford to have a dog walker helps a lot," Bradbury adds.
Gather any certificates of completed training, and then put everything together with a cover page that boasts a cute picture of your furry friend.