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Can you evict a tenant for having a pet on the property?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Landlord-tenant law

Landlords sometimes run into trouble with tenants who break their leases. Depending on the seriousness of the offense, eviction could be a potential option.

If you have included a pet policy in your lease, then your tenant should abide by it. These policies are designed for all kinds of reasons ranging from preventing allergies among tenants, limiting the risk of pet damage to the property or just wanting to maintain a quiet space.

Tenants have to understand the pet policy and follow it. If they would like to renegotiate the policy in their lease, it may be possible, but only if they request an alteration prior to bringing a pet into the home.

As a landlord, you should be clear that your property is or is not pet-friendly. Your tenant should sign a lease agreeing on the actions you’ll take if you find a pet in the property, too. Some may agree to pay a fine, to start paying pet rent or, in some cases, move out completely.

Can you kick out a pet?

Usually, you can ask that a pet is removed if the pet is not a service animal. If it is a service animal, then you should ask for documentation, such as a letter from a doctor’s office. Fees for these animals, which may include emotional support and service animals, are waived by law, as are breed and size restrictions.

When is eviction possible?

If someone has broken the lease and you cannot resolve the conflict, then an eviction may be possible. For most landlords, it’s better to look into alternatives, such as asking that the pet is rehomed until the end of the lease or asking for pet rent on top of the tenant’s current rent.

If the tenant has hidden the pet and refuses to work with you on a reasonable solution, then it is possible for you to go to court to start the eviction process. You may also be able to use the deposit or seek further compensation to cover any damage that was done to the property as a result of the pet being present.