Hard to find a home in Hudson County when you’ve got furry friends

Last week, The New York Times took an intimate look at the lies people tell to get their furry friends into their dream Manhattan digs. Here in Hudson County, it seems pet owners face a similar plight. Yet in both places, dog parks are packed. So how do people go from leash holding to lease holding, with strict pet policies in place?
Some of the newer luxury housing in Hoboken advertises their buildings as pet friendly. However, the luxury units can charge $3,000 or more per month for an apartment – so how does the average tenant with a pet afford a home in Hudson?
A six-month search of listings on Craigslist proved that many Hudson County listings say “sorry, no pets,” and one might have to trek as far as Nutley to find a place that will take a furry friend.
Hoboken resident Rory Chadwick, who owns the Midtown Authentic high-end consignment shop in Hoboken, said that he endured nearly three months of failed apartment hunting, all due to his adorable pup Louie.
Chadwick finally found a place only because he took a “shot in the dark” by calling a former landlord, he said.
The landlord was familiar with Louie and allowed Chadwick to keep him, without a deposit.

“Woof.” – Louie the Dog
“There were either two- or three-bedrooms that cost a lot of money, or a few one-bedrooms but they were in inconvenient parts of town,” said Chadwick of his search. “There was a publication last year that declared Hoboken one of the most dog-friendly towns. You’d think they’d make it more dog friendly. I finally got a place by chance because my old landlord had something open up and he knew me and never had a problem [with Louie].”
Louie is a 70 lb. German Shepherd mix.
“I also think that once people have a pet-friendly apartment, they are scared to leave it because they know there is nothing out there,” he said. “I know I’m going to stay in my place now as long as I possibly can.”

Realtor views and building preferences

Brian Murray of Empire Realty Group said, “Why no dogs? Many reasons. Rent control limits rent. Why should you take a dog when you aren’t getting any more money? [There is] more wear and tear, complaints from neighbors. Also, the maximum security deposit by law is 1.5 months rent. Some [landlords] ask for a pet deposit, but it’s questionable if it will hold up.”
In Hudson County, particularly Hoboken, young people are clamoring for apartments, so landlords can afford to be as picky as possible.
Norma DeRuggiero, a local real estate agent (and dog lover), said sometimes it is the fault of the pet owners.
“There are so many owners that are really irresponsible with their pets,” said De Ruggiero. “But there are so many dogs in town. Where are they living?”
De Ruggiero said that it can come down to quantity and breed. “I know someone who had a hard time [in their place] with two dogs and they don’t even weigh 20 pounds combined,” she said. “The other issue is breed, there are some buildings that don’t take pit bulls.”
Applied Housing is the company De Ruggiero was referring to. They have a strict no pit bull policy.
The Shipyard condos ask for $50 additional rent each month for a pet, according to a Shipyard leasing office employee.
Other buildings have even more inventive ways of designating which four-legged friend is acceptable.
Director of Marketing and Management of Bijou Properties Nancy Holland said recently that when forming a pet policy for Edge Lofts, Bijou’s newest eco-friendly building, they will be holding “pet interviews” when making their determinations.
Holland said Thursday, “Rather than a cut and dry policy, we’ll spend some time with it, go to pet it and if it lunges at us, it probably won’t be approved. If it’s friendly and looks like it’s going to be good around kids and other tenants, than it’ll be a welcome addition to our community. We wanted to do something democratic. Sometimes you see these big dogs that get ruled out and then you see 20-pound dogs who are vicious little things. It’s really about the personalities.”
The recent Times article noted, “in 1983 the city passed a law allowing residents in most New York apartments that don’t allow pets to keep a pet if it hasn’t been concealed over a three-month period and no lawsuit has been filed during that time.”
Tenants in federally assisted housing for the elderly or handicapped are allowed by federal law to own pets. New Jersey allows guarantees the right of senior citizens in any senior citizen housing project to have pets. Any building with three or more units, intended for and solely occupied by persons 62 or older, is covered by the law. Owner-occupied buildings with fewer than three units are exempted.
Residents can have a dog, cat, or any other animal that doesn’t constitute a health or safety hazard. A landlord who unreasonably refuses to renew a tenant’s lease because of a pet that is properly cared for and not a nuisance can be fined up to $500.
The Hoboken Housing Authority is a federally-funded building and therefore, can allow pets.

Amanda Palasciano may be reached at

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