Unauthorized pet

11 Replies

I have a tenant who said they would like to have a German Shepard. I agreed and they paid the non refundable pet deposit of $300. I did a drive by and saw that there is not one , but 2 dogs! Do I call him out and make him pay a second pet deposit? Or confront him with a warning but let it slide? He just moved in a month ago. The property is out of state and I just hired the property manager recently....

Well, "pet deposit" should really be a pet fee - nonrefundable.  Yes, 2 pets do twice the damage so you should ask for another.  

BTW, some landlords also add pet rent.  This is like a $20/pet additional fee for pets. 

This tenant has broken your rules.  Keep them on a short leash!

What is the pet deposit for? My guess is to clean carpet etc after they leave. You don't need to clean it twice just cause they have two dogs so I would let it slide. If you want them out that is one thing but I wouldn't get them upset over 300

Completely agree with @Rick Baggenstoss

It seems like the tenant purposely left out the fact that there were going to be two dogs instead of just one. Any reasonable person would understand that his/her landlord would be interested in knowing that there will be two dogs instead of one. Seems like your tenant attempted to pull the wool over your eyes. If you contracted to allow one dog, and he brought in two without your knowledge, then he is in violation of the agreement in my opinion, and probably the opinion of a judge as well (depending on the language of your contract). At the very least, you need to let the tenant know that you are not ok with another dog without some additional nonrefundable fee, especially now that you know. If this were to become a problem down that road the tenant could point to the fact that you knew at some point that there were two dogs and you did nothing about it, so he reasonable assumed that he was in compliance with your rules.

Makes one wonder what else they've been dishonest about.  And if they are permitted to get away with this, what else are they going to try to get away with?  Then again, perhaps we give him the benefit of the doubt and innocently inquire as to whether this was just a doggy playdate and the second one doesn't actually live there.  Perhaps better to ask the question before making accusations.  

Thanks all! It's frustrating because This is an out of state property, and I barely know the manager either. Not very happy so far. I am in town for work this week and drive by the house. They moved in over a month ago and the front porch is covered with boxes and rubbish. Dog crap all over the back yard. Doing a walk through Thursday. Not looking forward to seeing the inside.

@Steve S.  He's only been there a month and you're finding this early, so good on you for knowing it, but if you don't do anything about it the tenant will likely think other provisions in the lease won't be enforced so why not get a 3rd dog, and it's suddenly no big deal to not mow the lawn (because it's now covered in poop), or why should they pay rent on time?  It sets a bad precedence if you let it slide - either enforce all the rules or don't enforce any.  It takes all the emotion out of it if the rules are the rules, like it or not.

I would also get a 2nd non refundable pet fee, as well as charge rent for the dogs. I've seen dogs demolish a house in 5 days, doing way more damage than just ruining carpet. doors torn off, cabinets shreded, the list goes on and on.  Also, might be a good idea to give your insurance agent a call and make sure you've got coverage if there's a dog bite issue.

Additionally you may want to add a yard maintenance provision with that pet fee - dogs don't poo in toilets, and most don't have one specific spot.. they crap everywhere, and if you have grass, you'll now have lots of burn spots.

Pets are a problem for me personally - I'm too busy to want to feed another mouth or pick up the yard, however I have several units in areas that it seems like every house has dogs... so if I say NO DOGS, I can also say NO RENTERS. 

Think of it this way, when you tell your kid specifically and very directly he can have 1, one, ONE!!!!! ice cream, and then you see him sneaking a 2nd Fatboy out of the freezer. You wouldn't let him get away with it - and if you did, he'd learn that you're a pushover.

Give them an inch they will take a mile.

As a property management team. we maintain a list of breeds that we do not allow at our rental properties due to insurance liability.  These include Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Akitas, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chows, German Shepard Dogs, Presa Canarios, Huskies, Staffordshire Terriers, Wolf Dogs or Hybrids of these breeds.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

As a property management team. we maintain a list of breeds that we do not allow at our rental properties due to insurance liability.  These include Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, Akitas, Alaskan Malamute, Chow Chows, German Shepard Dogs, Presa Canarios, Huskies, Staffordshire Terriers, Wolf Dogs or Hybrids of these breeds.

 These lists depend entirely on your insurance company.  Mine, somewhat to my surprise, does not restrict German Shepherds.  

Originally posted by @Steve S. :
Thanks all! It's frustrating because This is an out of state property, and I barely know the manager either. Not very happy so far. I am in town for work this week and drive by the house. They moved in over a month ago and the front porch is covered with boxes and rubbish. Dog crap all over the back yard. Doing a walk through Thursday. Not looking forward to seeing the inside.

If you have a copy of the lease with you, I would come to the walk through with a copy of it and a highlighter with sections he is violating highlighted, and make sure you take plenty of pictures of every violation, especially excessive dog doo in the yard and/or any damage you see due to the dogs.  Usually pet terms have clauses for removal of the pet if the owner violates pet clauses, so I would make sure he knows you will not tolerate further violations and he will be required to remove the pets if it continues.  

With my out-of-town units, I now require the tenant to step through many hoops if they want a pet, with vet records proving breed and current vaccinations, AKC canine good citizen certificate, proof of current pet license, liability policy with me listed as additional insured, and a much larger deposit (like 1.5 times monthly rent instead of 1 month).  Managers just don't screen pets as well as I would if I were there, so this helps narrow it down.  People who actually care for their homes and pets don't have much trouble doing this as they usually have most of it already.  

@Steve S. Interesting thread and some good advice.  How about an update? What did you do and how did the tenant react? Did the property manger weigh in? How do they feel about managing tenants with pets? How are things going for you now?

@Steve S. If you decide to not allow pets then don't allow pets. I've been there and this is a tough lesson to learn. Never make concessions in general on your screening criteria and definitely not for someone you have no track record with. 

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.