In residential leases, landlords have the power to decide whether to allow tenants to have pets on the rental property. Depending on the landlord's decision, pet clauses will be included in the lease describing whether or not a tenant can have pets on the premises.
What Are Some Common Features Of Pet Clauses?
Typically, landlords will not allow tenants to have pets because of the potential damage to the rental unit and the liability that could arise from injuries to other people caused by the pets. If a landlord does allow his tenants to have pets under a lease, he can require certain features, such as:
- Additional rent each month for pets
- An additional month's security deposit
- Making the tenant responsible for covering any damages or injuries caused by the pet
Can I Be Evicted For Violating A No-Pet Clause?
Violating a no-pet clause constitutes a breach of the lease, thereby entitling a landlord to terminate your lease and evict you. In order to do this, a landlord must still give you sufficient notice of his intention to terminate the lease.
If My Lease Has A No-Pet Clause, But I Want To Bring A Pet Onto The Premises, What Should I Do?
Your best option is to give your landlord notice of your desire to have a pet and attempt to gain his consent. The landlord may choose to waive the no-pet clause (not likely), refuse your request (more likely), or offer to allow you to keep the pet on the condition that you pay additional rent (which he will write into the lease as an addendum). Under no circumstances should you bring a pet onto the premises without your landlord's consent if it is forbidden by your lease.
If I Think My Landlord Has Unfairly Evicted Me For A Violation Of A No-Pet Clause, What Should I do?
If your landlord knows that you have been housing a pet in violation of the lease and yet has not done anything about it for a substantial period of time (i.e. 3 months), then he may have implicitly waived the no-pet clause. In addition, if you and your landlord have a dispute regarding some other term of the lease (such as his failure to fix something wrong with your apartment) and he suddenly decides to evict you based on your violation of the no-pet clause, then you may have a claim for retaliatory eviction.
Do I Need An Attorney If I Want To Keep A Pet On The Premises?
An attorney experienced in landlord-tenant law will be able to read your lease and better explain its terms to you before you agree to rent the premises. This includes detailing to you whether or not you can have a pet on the premises. Additionally, if you feel that your landlord is unfairly evicting you for housing a pet or is trying to charge you excessive damages that he claims were caused by your pet, a real estate attorney can advise you of your rights and whether you have a viable cause of action.