Can You Get Evicted for Having a Pet?

Know the pet policy

If your apartment complex is pet-friendly and you’ve taken all the necessary steps that allow for a tenant to have one, you should be in a good position. This means full disclosure of the animal’s presence and all required information, payment of any necessary fees, deposits and pet rent, and following all the related rules for pet owners like keeping dogs leashed and picking up after them on walks.

If you’re getting a new pet and bringing it home to your current apartment, same rules apply. If your community is pet-friendly, this shouldn’t be a problem as long as you disclose your intent to the landlord or management company, then follow all the necessary steps and pay mandatory fees.

However, if your complex is not pet-friendly and they don’t allow animals of any kind, then you either need to move somewhere else that allows pets, or you need to put your plans on hold. If you break the rules, you’re subject to eviction.

You have to pay for your pet

Failure to pay rent is the most common reason for eviction, and pet-related fees fall under the above classification. If you don’t pay your pet fees, deposits or rent, they have the right to kick you out – or at least demand the fees be paid.

Your property management company can restrict animals based on size and breed or even the number of pets you are permitted to have. They’re also entitled to do random pet checks and you can bet they’re paying close attention to who has a pet and who doesn’t, so don’t try to sneak one in.

Don’t be a nuisance

Even if pets are allowed and you’re up to date on all your fees, you can still be evicted if your pet proves to be a nuisance. For example, if you have a dog who barks all the time – to the point where your neighbors repeatedly complain – you’ll need to act swiftly to remedy the situation or you can both be thrown out.

You also have to be careful about damages to the apartment. It’s understood and likely covered in your lease that tenants are required to keep their pets from causing damage to the apartment. While a torn carpet or scratched baseboard will be covered by your security deposit, pet odors are notoriously difficult to remove and, therefore, considered damage.

If your pet is not housebroken or fails to use the litterbox, things can get bad quickly. You can be evicted for having a pet if you don’t tend to these matters. And just like you’re responsible for what your pet does inside, you’re also on the hook for what they do outside. Clean up after your pet!

Exceptions to the rule

By law, landlords must allow for service animals (such as seeing-eye dogs) and emotional support animals. Tenants who have these animals must show documentation proving their service or emotional-support status upon request. Pet rent, fees and size and breed restrictions do not apply to these animals as they’re not considered pets.

Photo by Simon Hesthaven on Unsplash
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A.D. ThompsonA.D. Thompson spent the first half of her 25-year career behind the editor’s desk, including time at Playgirl Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel and a host of other publications, print and online. Now a full-time freelancer, she is the Orlando expert for USA Today’s and writes about everything from Mickey Mouse to marijuana-based tourism with equal levels of enthusiasm – and occasional bouts of the munchies.

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