You overhear one of your tenants promising his child a dog. You remind them that you do not allow tenants to have dogs. He replies that tenant x has one, and tenant y, so why can’t his family? Despite the apparent unfairness, there may be reasons why some tenants have dogs but others cannot.
Your contract says you do not allow dogs
As a landlord, you can stipulate that you do not accept pets in the contracts tenants sign. If you do not make this explicit, they may assume pets are acceptable. As with any contract issues, if you want to make something a condition, put it in writing. Where contracts are unclear, a judge may side with the other party.
You had no choice but to accept the other person’s dog
Perhaps you used to allow people to have dogs, but now you do not. A bad experience or complaints from other tenants may have led to you updating your contracts. If someone already had a dog, before you updated your agreements, you may have no choice but to let them keep it.
You might be stuck with a tenant’s dog if you did not take action to remove the dog fast enough. If someone had a dog for three months, and you knew about it yet said nothing, the dog may be entitled to stay. If they had hidden the dog, that would be different.
The other tenant’s dog is special
Most owners think their dogs are special. Yet, some have a special status in the eyes of the law. Service animals enable someone with a disability to get around. Refusing a service dog would infringe the person’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Emotional support dogs are another category the law treats differently. They, too, play a critical role in their owner’s lives. Refusing a tenant theirs could violate the Fair Housing Act.