Editorial: Pets and real estate

The New York Times recently had an article, “So, Do I Make the Cut?”, highlighting the problems pet owners faced when renting or buying apartments in Manhattan.

Among the ridiculous things mentioned in the article:

  • Bogie, a 12 lb shih tzu, had to pass an “admission exam” in front of the building manager and lawyer of a luxury rental building. (Bogie passed, but his owner opted for a more pet-friendly building in a $7000-a-month-2-bedroom.)

  • A real estate agent steers clients with dachshunds away from a Upper East Side building that dislikes that breed (what’s wrong with dachshunds???)
  • Dogs with “small dog names” like Fifi and Gigi must be presented “in person” to confirm their small size
  • Part of a dog interview entails putting a dog in an apt. and watching how it responds to doorbells and telephones
  • The most ridiculous: A potential buyer’s dog is placed in a room with current tenants’ dogs to see how the new dog reacts when a ball is tossed or when food is around.

Manhattan landlords are losing good tenants because of their short-sightedness. I’m not sure what the source of prejudice is. If they think pets will necessitate repairs on the apartment, the landlords can deduct the amount from the deposit. I would like the see the amounts of damage caused by pets each year versus those caused by human occupants. Dogs bark, but humans can have loud parties and babies who cry all night. Living in an apartment building requires the resident to be tolerant of neighbors in many ways.

The ASPCA or Humane Society in New York City should work with landlords to accommodate pet owners (the San Francisco SPCA keeps a list of pet-friendly buildings and helps landlords come up with reasonable guidelines on their pet policy.) I’m going to write a letter to the city council to ask them to maintain affordable pet-friendly housing in New York City.

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