You're starting to get suspicious...what is that barking sound that keeps coming from your tenants' door?
If you suspect or know that a tenant has a pet, despite a no-pet rule in your lease, you may want to know your options before you confront them about it.
Can you charge them a fine? Can you evict them? Perhaps more importantly, should you?
As a landlord, you want to make sure that you are legally protected in your actions. So, what does the law actually say?
Read on to learn about an eviction due to pets and what you have the legal right to do!
1. Go Back to Your Lease
Luckily, if you're a landlord renting out a property to a tenant, you have a legal document to protect both of you: the lease.
A lease is a legal contract that both parties have signed, outlining terms that both parties must follow.
Before you move to evict your tenant, go back to the lease to confirm what your pet policy is.
If your lease clearly states that there is a no-pet policy and/or that unauthorized pets may result in eviction, you are in the clear to take that action if you choose.
2. Draft a Notice
Once you've determined that your tenant has committed lease violations, it's important to document your next actions.
Draft them a notice to remove pets or a notice outlining what you would like their next action to be.
This may be asking them to remove the animal within a certain amount of time, evicting them, or asking them to pay a fine.
Keep in mind, you cannot charge a fine if it was not part of your original lease.
3. Evict--If You Must
After you've determined the lease was violated, notified the tenant, and documented the interactions, you may begin eviction proceedings if you wish.
However, before you do, consider whether evicting your tenant over a pet is worth it.
4. Cons of Eviction Due to Pets
While the tenant may have violated the lease, you'll want to consider the amount of work that eviction and finding a new tenant will take. You may lose money in the long run if you cannot find a new tenant to take over the lease.
In some cases, allowing the tenant to remain and adding an addendum to keep the pet and potentially pay pet rent or a pet deposit may be a better course of action. Therefore, you should consider your options carefully!
Work with Your Property Manager
If you're a first-time landlord or have never been through an eviction due to pets, it can be an intimidating process.
This is a situation in which it's extremely helpful to have a property manager walk you through what to do and help you communicate with the tenant.
To talk with our team of experienced property managers, click here to contact our team now!