Few things pit landlords and tenants against one another as quickly as questions about pets. Many people consider pets non-negotiable because they are part of the family. However, landlords often don’t want to accommodate them because of the damage they can cause to their rental units.
Tenants looking for a pet-friendly place may have to search for longer than other prospective tenants. When they do find a place, they may find that their landlord charges them extra costs for the animal. Is it legal for a New York landlord to charge fees related to a pet?
Pets increase wear to a property and justify higher costs
As many as 75% of the rental properties in New York do not allow people to keep companion animals. Those that do can generally demand a premium for their accommodations and may have the option of choosing between multiple applicants for a single vacant unit.
Pet-friendly landlords might require a separate deposit for each animal, which may not be a refundable deposit. They may also charge a cleaning fee to offset the additional work required to get the unit ready for them to rent to someone else. Some landlords even charge extra rent every month for a pet.
Nothing in New York or federal law prohibits such practices. The only exception would be if someone with a disability has a service animal. In that case, charging a fee for it would violate the tenant’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Pets are common sources of landlord and tenant disputes, which is why both parties should be honest and open about their opinions about animals in the unit.