J.C. from New York City writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am month to month in a New York City condo for the last 4 years. I take care of a couple of my friends’ pets when they go on vacation. Two nights ago, as I walked into my building the doorman told me a dog in my apartment was barking for two hours and they got lots of complaints. Today our super told me the property management company is sending me a letter that I can no longer have any dogs I don’t own and that there have been many complaints. I have never received even one formal complaint in the last 4 years from management. I only have small pets who do not bark. If I ever have a pet who barks I refuse to keep them, because I never want to disturb my neighbors. Additionally, I continually reach out to my neighbors and ask them is all ok and tell them to call me if there is ever any disturbance to them for any reason. My neighbors tell me they only bark when they hear them in hallway, and as soon as they are inside their apartment they settle down, that that’s normal, and that it does not bother them. I am shocked this went on without anyone notifying me and want to know if there’s anything I can do to remedy and still have any rights. For 4 years I have lived here like this, including watching my neighbor’s pet who is on the board.
Mister Condo replies:
J.C., as a dog lover myself, I feel your pain. However, I am sorry to tell you that you have no “rights” with regards to pet-sitting for friends. In fact, your building likely has a pet limit (one or two pets per unit is typical) and you already have two pets of your own. Any additional pets in your unit is a violation that the association has every right to enforce. You got away with this for 4 years but now that the association is aware of your rule violation they are likely to keep a closer eye on you. My guess is that not ALL of your neighbors are as happy about your pet-sitting as the ones you have spoken with. These folks have rights, too, you know and they are well within their rights to have quiet use of their units. My advice is that you stop pet-sitting and follow the rules closely, especially in the next few months. If things quiet down and there are no additional complaints, you might be able to pet-sit on the odd occasion without upsetting your fellow unit owners. However, if you are cited again, the Board will likely have no choice but to fine you or act against you in accordance with your condo’s governing documents. All the best!