What to do about unauthorized pets in my rental is the question this week for Ask Landlord Hank. Remember Hank is not an attorney and is not offering legal advice. If you have a question for him please fill out his form below.
Dear Landlord Hank,
My name is Carolyn and I am a landlord.
I understand the need for pets, but I am wondering about a tenant who brought in two dogs – and now I’m seeing a cat in the window a couple of years later, and there may be even two cats.
She said she told my husband about the cats but my husband passed away and never mentioned it to me. The gentleman is wheelchair-bound, I don’t know if you needed to know that. Thanking you in advance for your time.
Normally, in most leases, there is a clause stating that tenants shall NOT keep any animal or pet in or around the premises without the landlord’s PRIOR written approval, and then a pet addendum to the lease is filled out and made part of the lease.
The pet addendum states that the tenant is responsible for the pet, that they can’t be a nuisance (barking, annoying neighbors, running free), the tenant must clean up after the pet, a pet deposit is required in case of damage, and whether the number of pets, types and breeds are restricted.
It sounds like your tenant has a small zoo at your place. I would make arrangements to do a home inspection, right away, and then you can decide the best way to handle this.
The tenant’s home may be spotless with no sign of any pet damage or maybe not, but check it out ASAP.
Each week I answer questions from landlords and property managers across the country in my “Dear Landlord Hank” blog in the digital magazine Rental Housing Journal. https://rentalhousingjournal.com/asklandlordhank/
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