Looking to move to New York City, but have a pet in tow? Don't worry. It's not as bad as you might think. Although everyone will have a slightly different experience looking for a pet-friendly apartment, you'll have plenty of options as long as you keep an open mind.

The first thing to know about pets in New York apartments is that there is no official policy. Every landlord and management company is free to make their own rules depending on their personal preferences and the preferences of their tenants. That means the burden is going to be on you to find a landlord that is open to your specific situation.

There are a couple of basic pet-policy trends no matter where you look. Cats are usually more welcome than dogs and small dogs (40 pounds or less) are generally more welcome than large dogs. This certainly isn't to say you won't find a great home for your Great Dane, but expect to have to look harder (and potentially further out of Manhattan) than you would otherwise.

Although we don't recommend a broker for everyone, this is one situation where having someone making calls on your behalf can go a long way. Brokers, particularly those who have placed people in pet-friendly apartments before, will be able to help cull the listings for potential matches.

Since there are no official rules regarding pets in NYC, the landlord or management company regulations that forbid any pet must be clearly stated in your lease. Before you sign your lease, make sure that it does not expressly forbid your pets (and having it expressly allow your pets would be a nice bonus) because no matter what your landlord says, it's that written lease policy that matters most.

You might have also heard of certain pet ownership loopholes. There is a New York City "pet policy" that waives any no-pet lease clause if the pet is kept "openly and notoriously" for at least three months. Unless you are looking for heart-break, stay away from this policy. It's hard to prove that you met the stipulations and if your landlord sees your openly kept pet and doesn't turn a blind eye, you can be evicted. 

Once you get the apartment situation squared away, you'll find that New York City can be a great place for pets. One particularly fun place to start for dog owners is with the New York City Parks & Recreation Department, which operates dozens of dog runs throughout the City. Click here to see the nearest dog run in your new neighborhood. Enjoy your new city life with your old friend!