Keeping Your Dog When Your Landlord Says No Pets: Ultimate Guide

Keeping Your Dog When Your Landlord Says No Pets

What can you do when you have a dog but your landlord says no pets? Many buildings have a no pet policy or require a prohibitive monthly “pet fee”. If you have a dog, you know they’re a member of your family, and family comes before real estate. But depending on where you live, finding a pet-friendly rental can be a challenge. In addition to searching for a pet-friendly rental, there are a few other options for a landlord that says no pets.

Option 1) Just Ask for a “No Pets Policy” Exception

If you’re not renting from a property management company, a private landlord might be willing to make an exception for your pet or dog. You can get creative here and put together a pet resume. Share pictures, tell your landlord about your pet’s routine and explain the ways in which you will care for your pet to make sure there will be no damage or noise issues. It can be a good idea to include training certificates, a letter from a recent landlord, or office manager (if you take the dog to work), and a spay or neuter certificate. Show your landlord that you are a responsible pet owner.

If you are able to come to an agreement, make sure to document the terms in writing. You can create a lease addendum or add a pet clause to your existing lease. It’s a good idea to include the breed and size of your pet. As well, track deposits or fees to cover potential damages caused by the animal.

Option 2) No Pets? No Listening.

While we understand that some individuals may consider trying to sneak a pet past a landlord’s no pet policy, we do not recommend this approach. If you have assessed your situation and believe it’s the right way forward, proceed with caution. However, be aware that if or when your landlord discovers your pet, they may impose a pet fine for violating your lease or require you to remove the pet.

In the event that your landlord imposes an exorbitant fine, such as a fee per day of having the pet, you can contest the charge in civil court. However, it’s important to note that this may not change the outcome, and you may still be required to remove the pet or move out. We understand that a housing requirement should not be a reason to give up your animal, but please try to avoid reaching that point.

In NYC some tenants can try to get by on the “three month law” which states that if you have a companion animal in your apartment “openly and notoriously” for three months, “any no-companion animal clause in a lease is considered waived and unenforceable.” This means you would not try to hide or sneak your pet around. If the landlord doesn’t say anything for three months, you’re in the clear. However, if you are caught within that time frame, you can be asked to remove the animal or pay a fee. It’s high risk to get past a no pet policy, and specific to New York.

Option 3) Negotiate a Price to Keep Your Pet In Your Building

If you are in a position to do so, you can negotiate to keep a pet. A good place to start is with an extra security deposit, which could be one- or two-months’ rent. You’ll get it back in the end and it shows you are serious. If monetary padding is not an option, consider taking on a beautification project. Anything you can think of to increase the value of the property. Explore all possible roads and don’t overlook friendship. Developing a personal relationship with your landlord with likely go the farthest.

Option 4) Reasonable Accommodation For Support Animals

If a person has a disability, the Fair Housing Act requires a landlord or homeowner’s association to make an accommodation such as waiving a no pets rule or pet deposit. If you have a disability that allows you to maintain an assistance animal, you can register to visually identify your dog as a Service Dog or ESA to your landlord. However, please note that there are no official registration or certification requirements for service animals or emotional support animals. Some organizations offer registration or certification services, but they are not required by law.

Service Dog & Emotional Support Animals

Remember, Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals are not excused from bad behavior. If your pet causes damage or makes noise, your landlord can ask you to remove them. If you have an Emotional Support Animal that does not accompany you during the day, be aware of common behavioral issues and how to avoid them when you’re not home.

Housing issues are one of the top reasons that animals end up in shelters, so it’s essential to seek legal help if you’re facing an eviction notice. You can register your pet as a Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal to your landlord if you have a disability that qualifies you for assistance. Don’t give up your pet because of housing issues. With some creativity and perseverance, you can keep your furry friend by your side.

If you have an Emotional Support Animal or are considering getting one, it’s important to register your animal with a reputable organization, such as US Service Animal Registrar, to help establish your animal’s status and protect your rights. Registering your animal also helps ensure that your animal is properly trained and well-behaved, which can help alleviate any concerns your landlord may have about allowing pets in their building.

In summary, with persistence and the right resources, you can keep your beloved pet even if your landlord initially says no pets. Remember to explore all your options, and consider registering your Emotional Support Animal to help protect your rights and ensure your pet is properly trained and well-behaved.

Register your support dog online now to receive your instant Service Dog Registration, Service Dog certificate and Service Dog Certification Documents or Register your Emotional Support Animal for ESA Registration, ESA  Certification and Emotional Support Animal Certificate Documents

References

  1. “How to Keep Your Dog in a Rental Property (Legally!)” by the American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/home-living/renting-with-dogs/
  2. “Tenant’s Rights When Landlord Won’t Allow Pets” by NOLO: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/tenants-right-to-have-pets-faq.html
  3. “Can You Keep a Dog in a No Pet Apartment?” by PetMD: https://www.petmd.com/dog/can-you-keep-dog-no-pet-apartment
  4. “Service and Assistance Animals in Housing” by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/disabilities/inhousing
  5. “How to Keep Your Pet in Your Apartment” by the Humane Society of the United States: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/how-keep-your-pet-your-apartment