Object to Unauthorized Pet Within Three Months
A lease clause that prohibits a tenant from keeping a dog, cat, or other pet in an apartment without the owner’s permission imposes a substantial obligation on the tenancy. And a tenant who harbors a pet in violation of a “no-pets” clause in the lease can be terminated.
But owners must act promptly against a tenant who keeps pets. A delay longer than three months can nullify a no-pets lease provision. In buildings with three or more apartments, a no-pets provision in the lease is waived if the: (1) tenant “openly and notoriously” keeps a pet for three months or more; (2) the owner or building staff member knows about the pet; and (3) the owner fails to object to the pet within that three-month period [NYC Admin. Code §27-2009.1].
This happened in one recent case. The owner sued to evict a tenant for violating the no-pets clause of her lease. And the court granted the tenant’s request to dismiss the case without a trial. The owner appealed and lost.
The owner had written a letter to the tenant in September 2009 addressing the issue of “dog barking” and warning the tenant that she would be fined and that dogs weren’t allowed in the building. But the owner didn’t start the eviction proceeding against the tenant for keeping the dog until sometime after the three-month statutory deadline for objecting to the presence of a dog in an apartment. Therefore, the owner waived the right to object to the tenant’s dog despite its claim that it delayed because tenant had reassured the owner that she had removed the dog [Noonan Plaza LLC v. Rubio, October 2012].