Democratic Candidate for City Council
5th District - Sutton Place, Upper East Side, Yorkville, Roosevelt Island
Dan Quart, a lawyer in private practice who does pro-bono work for tenants, has had both professional and personal experience that convinced him of the need for strong laws to protect New Yorkers with pets from eviction.
In 2003, he was awarded the Pro Bono Publico award for his work as a Legal Aid Society volunteer lawyer representing indigent tenants from evictions. Among those Dan represented was Diana Marquez, a single mom living in a rent-stabilized Yorkville walkup.
Her landlord threatened to evict her and her 8-year-old son, Marlin, because of their dog, who had been part of the family for several years. Dan collected affidavits from her neighbors about the good conduct of the dog, and because of his aggressive defense of the Marquez family, the landlord dropped the suit.
Not only that, Dan's actions stopped the landlord from threatening other families with pets in the five-story building.
When his own apartment building lost it's Mitchell-Lama status, he helped negotiate a sizable below market buy-in for tenants, allowing many to buy the homes they'd lived in for years.
That was the good news. The bad news was that the new condo board in the building, which now has a mix of owner-occupied condos and rental apartments, has recently passed what he calls "very regressive" policies concerning pets, charging homeowners fees for pets and limiting their size.
"There are a lot of dog owners in the building," he says. "All but a handful are very responsible. They go beyond pooper-scooping. Many carry water misters to wash the pavement when they clean up.
"We don't need any pet restrictions other than the restriction regarding nuisance animals."
But it's not just from personal experience that he knows how important it is to protect tenants with pets. He's knocked on 7,000 doors since he began his candidacy, and an issue that repeatedly comes up among voters is the right to keep pets without fear of eviction or harassment.
He is very supportive of the Pets in Housing bill - Intro. 189-A. This bill would restore the rights of residents in apartments, coops and condos to keep pets in their homes - a right granted to all New York City residents by the 1983 Pet Law.
"Pets are not just animals. They are part of people's families, and I know they help people live longer and better lives. That's why I have fought and will continue to fight for New Yorkers with pets."
- Dan Quart
However, he thinks the bill should be stronger and should not include an exemption for coops and condos.
"Pet owners are among the most educated voters," he said. "They know this bill. They know why it's bottled up.
"There's a lot the City Council can't do because much legislation falls within the state's jurisdiction. But this is one thing the City Council can do."
Dan's taken no money from real estate interests or from coop and condo boards. His 500 contributors, he says, are family, friends, fellow lawyers and classmates from as far back as grade school. He's raised nearly as much money as his best financed rival, Jessica Lappin, former chief of staff and senior housing advisor to City Council Speaker Gifford Miller.
Dan also supports another issue that Animal Friendly NYC knows is crucial to bettering the lives of New York animals and the people who love them:
Throughout his career, Dan has always taken on a lot of pro-bono work.
Why? "We're judged by who we help. My dad is a retired teacher. My mother, a social worker. This is a responsibility of citizenship."
For more information on Dan Quart, go to www.danquart.com.