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What does “no pets” really mean, and can you kick out your tenant?

What does “no pets” really mean, and can you kick out your tenant?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2022 | landlord-tenant disputes |

When you set up your rental property’s contract, you decided that you did not want your tenants to have pets. You gave them 24 hours of notice to enter after hearing from another neighbor that they’d had a small animal they were playing with outside.

When inside, you found a cage and some small toys assumedly for some kind of rodent. While you appreciate that this isn’t a cat or a dog, your leasing agreement was clear. What should you do?

You could have the option of evicting your tenants

It’s possible that you could evict your tenants for violating the “no pets” policy in your leasing agreement. Most people do assume that the rules only apply to cats and dogs, but it’s reasonable for you to give them a notice of being in violation of the contract and to take steps to have them removed if they have other pets inside the home.

Many landlords start with a warning, because losing a tenant is costly. So, you may opt to meet with the tenant to talk about the pet and the restrictions in your contract, for example. Doing this may help you get the pet removed and have the tenant remain for at least the rest of their contract.

Other landlords might decide that the battle isn’t worth it and allow the small pet to stay as long as it isn’t a dog or cat. You might contact the renter and say they’re in violation of the contract but that you’ll add a pet fee to allow the pet to stay, for instance.

If you really don’t want to have pets in the apartment, you could ask the tenant to get rid of it by a certain date. If you return and see the animal is still in the home, then you could pursue other options to terminate your leasing agreement.

There are different ways to resolve a no-pets violation

Usually, if you can be reasonable, most people will understand that they’ve violated the contract. Some may not even realize they’ve done so, so it is worth having a conversation before taking legal action.

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