Q: I live in an Upper West Side condo with many rent-stabilized apartments. A few weeks ago, all the residents — both renters and owners — received a threatening letter from the managing agent saying that the board can impose fines on tenants if they take their dogs outside through the lobby. Instead, we must use a service elevator and exit through a long service hallway, both of which are often full of obstructions because they’re used by contractors and maintenance workers. Tenants must carry their dogs in the elevator now, too. Are these rules and fines legal?
A: This is the kind of rule that is not uniformly enforceable, and could be challenged by some of the residents.
First, the board may run into opposition from anyone whose dog is an emotional-support animal, because the city’s Human Rights Law gives those owners substantial rights. Someone with an emotional-support pet is entitled to equal use and enjoyment of their home.
“They can’t be forced to take a service elevator, or go out some other entrance, particularly if that other entrance is, say, out the back, or in a less safe place, or through the basement,” said Darryl M. Vernon, a real estate lawyer who represents people with companion animals.
sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.