Landlords be vigilant against this waiver of the No pets clause.
Did you know that it is possible for a tenant to keep a pet even if their lease has a no pets clause ?
If your tenant open and notoriously maintains a pet for three months and you, as the Landlord, fail to bring a case in Court, this could constitute a waiver.
According to Section 27-2009.1 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York:
Where a tenant in a multiple dwelling openly and notoriously for a period of three months or more following taking possession of a unit, harbors or has harbored a household pet or pets, the harboring of which is not prohibited by the multiple dwelling law, the housing maintenance or the health codes of the city of New York or any other applicable law, the owner or his * * * agent has knowledge of this fact, and such owner fails within this three month period to commence a summary proceeding or action to enforce a lease provision prohibiting the keeping of such household pets, such lease provision shall be deemed waived.
This means if you see your tenant walking their dog, or carrying pet supplies, or even holding a leach….say something immediately.
The tenant is aware of the no pets clause and will be documenting when they get the pet and every time/instance you should have known they were harboring a pet in their apartment. Be prepared!
As soon as you or your super see any indication of a pet or pet products, consult an attorney to draw up a notice on your behalf. Delaying serving the notice for three months could constitute a waiver of your rights to object to the pet. This does not mean that if the pet is allowed, you must do nothing even if it is a nuisance.
New York courts have long recognized the validity of ‘no-pet clauses’ in leases, and harboring a pet when a lease contains a ‘no-pet clause’ constitutes a substantial breach of the lease agreement. Knolls Coop Apts Section No ii v. Cashman, 14 N.Y. 2d 579
The court has ruled that a tenant’s future pet could be a nuisance, and notes the landlord is not estopped from seeking the removal of such animal, as a nuisance proceeding is specifically not waived under the Pet Law, Administrative Code § 27-2009.1 (d).
Noticed a tenant with a dog ? You need to start a proceeding now!
Notify your tenant by serving a notice to cure. If they fail to cure within the time period provided, then follow up with a Notice of Petition and Petition.
Recently we filed several of these cases, which are on the rise and the intricacies are tricky. We have seen landlords struggle with tenants claiming the use of a “service dog” as a defense. Most of the time the animal and/or owner does not qualify for this exception. Make sure you consult an attorney as it could make a huge difference in the outcome of your dog case.
For more information check out this article on companion animals in NYC.