Was that a Dog I Saw?

October 19, 2017

Editing: “Was that a Dog I Saw?”


As a residential landlord, you will face a lot of issues! Late rent, damaged property, demands for repairs (a/k/a improvements) and TO ALLOW OR NOT ALLOW PETS!


Pets are cute, fun and cherished members of the family. 


And, you may lose out on a great tenant if you don’t allow pets. 


In reality, though, there are extra costs associated with allowing tenants to keep pets on the leased premises (i.e. cleaning fees when the tenant vacates).


What can you do to mitigate those costs and secure an otherwise GREAT tenant???


****Foremost, know that it is illegal to prohibit service (or assistance) animals or discriminate against individuals (tenants) on the basis of them having or using a service (or assistance) animal (by way of example and not limitation, guide, leader and hearing animals are not pets!).****


If you allow pets generally, consider important points to incorporate into your lease, such as the type of pet, how many pets, and the size of the pet allowed on the premises.


Being sure to include a provision in the lease regarding details on what is or is not allowed relating to pets will reduce ambiguities during the lease term.


You may also include a lease provision for a pet deposit – within the legal limits (which means the total deposits cannot exceed one and a half month’s rent). Or you may want to include a non-refundable pet cleaning fee.


But, what happens when you have a lease that prohibits pets, and -- despite that prohibition -- pets are everywhere they aren’t supposed to be on your leased premises! What do you do?


First, you will want to reach out to the tenant and learn the details about the pet. For example, is it a new pet? Is it someone else’s pet? Is it only there a short time? 


Second, remind your tenant of the lease terms, and request that the pet be removed by a certain deadline.


Third, if the pet seems to be lingering, issue a written demand letter to the tenant to remote the pet.


If all of the above fail where you have a lease with a pet prohibition, litigation is the next likely step for enforcing the contractual prohibition. 


To learn more about this topic, or other legal issues, please contact Anissa C. Hudy, 248.417.9154 or email at ahudy@hudylaw.com (website - www.hudylaw.com).  

Anissa Hudy focuses her practice on general business, real estate and commercial contracting and litigation. 


This article and the other articles posted on my page are not intended to constitute specific legal advice and may not be construed to as providing specific legal advice. Each case must be considered against its own facts and circumstances in the context of applicable law.


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