Real Estate

Real Estate: Are pet-friendly North Fork rentals on the rise?

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A dog frolics on the front lawn of a pet friendly rental on the North Fork.

There may be no need to howl about leaving a fluffy friend behind when renting a North Fork property, either for the summer or year-round.

Some area real estate agents say they’ve seen an increase in pet-friendly rentals. Pets have traditionally topped rental restriction lists, but according to Mary Lentini at Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Cutchogue, smoking is now a far more prevalent no-no.

“Smoking is still a big deal,” she said. “But I think homeowners are becoming a little more lax about renting to people with pets because they want to get the place rented. Usually they’ll just take an extra security deposit for the animal.”
Ms. Lentini said another possible reason for the increase is the same as many housing market changes — the recession.

“We’re finding a lot of people who have lost their homes to short sells or foreclosures have to rent and many have pets, so landlords are becoming more amicable to the idea,” she said. Still, homeowners will often want to meet the animal in addition to taking an extra deposit or fee to cover possible damage.

“Some landlords are even requesting a certain size pet, maybe capping it at 35 pounds,” Ms. Lentini said.
But not all agents agree that the market is getting warm and fuzzy for furry residents.

Carl Austin with Colony Realty said pet-friendly rentals are rather difficult to find, especially for certain ”uninsurable” breeds.

“Some breeds aren’t covered by insurance companies, like pit bulls and dobermans,” he said, adding that he’s seen a trend for rentals that allow only an “insurable pet.”

John Nickles of Lewis & Nickles Ltd. Real Estate in Southold said he hasn’t seen a spike in pet-friendly rentals, but in rentals in general. He also said some homeowners will rent to people with pets, even if they’ve advertised otherwise.
“People take pets, but they don’t like to say they take pets,” he said. Small dogs are preferable, as are breeds with lower energy levels that are less likely to cause damage.

Paul Loeb of Lloyd’s Realty in Greenport said he was surprised that 46 of the 195 available year-round and summer rentals from Jamesport east allow pets. He said there’s a new category on the multiple-listing service software that specifies pet type.

“You can say yes to pets and then specify whether you allow cats or dogs,” he said. Requests for summer rentals with cats appears to be uncommon.

Of the eight summer rental properties currently listed with Lloyd’s, two specified dogs only.

“Cats are not as welcome as dogs,” Janet Markarian at Century 21 Albertson Realty said of the animals infamous for marking their territory and putting those with allergies over the edge. “But I’ve never had a person say ‘I want to rent a place with my cat.’ ”

Ms. Markarian said she’s already placed three or four dogs into summer homes in East Marion, including a pair of French bulldogs and a coonhound that works as a model.

“I think landlords are more open-minded, especially those who have dogs themselves. Some prefer dogs over children, but they can’t say no children,” she joked.

Ms. Markarian’s real estate beat is Orient, a place she said could have more pet-friendly rentals than other parts of the North Fork because of its rural nature.

But regardless of location, some agents say allowing pets can be a boon for homeowners itching for rental income.

“Anyone who has a rental that’s open to pets will rent their house right away,” said Marie Beninati of Beninati Associates. Worried property owners can protect their properties best with an extra security deposit and a pre- and post-rental property inspection, she added.

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