Would you consider a Don't Feed Feral Animals clause?

26 Replies

I don't manage property anymore, but if I did and I rented using leases, I think I would add a clause regarding no feeding of feral animals allowed, as a means to evict tenants who do this, under a breach of contract.

The apartment building I live in (55+ low income seniors), has several tenants who go out at night and feed the feral cats and racoons.  Therefore, they are all over the place and often in the dumpster right outside the back door where I take my dog out and go to my car.  Some of the racooons are huge and scare me to death.  And they're not afraid of people.

I don't have to deal with the mess, as I'm just a tenant now, and I don't have to deal with any damage to a yard or plants - I don't have a yard or even a balcony.  But, the racoons honestly scare me.

Another place I rented, as a tenant, many years ago was a four-plex and I did have a balcony, but it wasn't reachable by the feral cats one of the downstairs tenants fed.  So, again, no damage to me.  But, the noise!  Sheesh!  They screeched all night mating and fighting.

But, I know that feral cats and other animals can cause damage, and if a feral animal bites a tenant or guest, or even their dog, it seems there could be some serious liability issues.

I have chosen not to report the tenants in my building, as I bet the manager already knows.  I expect to be here many years, and don't want any bad feelings with fellow tenants.  And I know they mean well.  I now take my dog out at night via a different door, to avoid the dumpster area.  But, one couple also told me that another tenant, supposedly, hides 5 cats in her apartment that are "feral," so she doesn't consider them to belong to her.

But, I'm curious as to whether or not any of you landlords have had issues with feral cats and other feral animals being fed by tenants, as far as damage or noise - or as an excuse for the tenant to say they don't have an official pet (or too many pets) - because they are "only" feeding feral animals?

And have you or would you include a clause about this in your leases?  What has been your experience regarding this issue?

Heck yes, I would use that clause in your building.  Feral cats a problem but freakin raccoons are dangerous.  Imagine the law suit if one of those critters gives a tenants visiting grandchild rabies.  

Yes. We have such a clause in our property rules. Here it is:

"FEEDING ANIMALS OUTSIDE.  Tenant agrees to refrain from feeding stray animals and from leaving food outside for animals, as this can attract stray pets, wild animals, and insects to the property.  Bird feeders are allowed, but should be at a sufficient distance as to lessen the chances of bird droppings falling on personal property."

If I were you I would report your situation to the owner/property manager of the building you occupy. You raise some very valid points. You may also contact your local animal control officer.

@Josh Caldwell Thanks for the validation.  I hadn't even thought about visiting grandchildren.

@Marcia Maynard I love this clause.  Your contracts are so great.  And thanks for the idea of calling the animal control officer.  I'd rather do that than talk to the manager here.  She's a sweetheart, but I'd be afraid of her saying it was a tenant in the building who complained, and they would figure out it was me.  I don't want any hostile neighbors.

My apartment looks out onto the park across the street, which is the beach front park.  One day, I saw a huge animal and realized it was a racoon - biggest one I've ever seen in my life and I've seen my share.  It was just casually meandering through the park mid-day!  I did call the police and told them about it and that perhaps it's sick and that's why it's out in the middle of the day and acting so casually.  It was about a week later that I ran into the tenants out back who told me they feed them like pets. Scares me to think some kid in the park might be bitten by a huge racoon that's not afraid to go beg for food. 

I think I'll call animal control on Monday, maybe anonymously.  

I have never thought of needing a clause like that in the lease.  Feeding cats or squirrels is one thing, but feeding dangerous animals like racoons, or possums?  Those can bite and carry rabies!

@Dawn Anastasi your post made me think of a little cabin I lived in with my boyfriend a million years ago in WA.  Squirrels moved into the walls and roof one winter and talk about a racket!  

I bet the tenants who feed the squirrels won't think they're so cute when they're waking them up in the middle of the night clomping around in the roof LOL.  Let alone chewing through electrical wires and making nests, etc.

Fortunately, I haven't heard of a tenant who feeds mice ha ha!  This is one thing feral cats are very good for :-)

Around my house we have bunnies.  So it's hard to have a garden unless you have some good wire fencing, but the bunnies seem to be generally harmless. They are very skiddish and run away if you try to get too close to them. They eat the clover that grows in the yards.  They are cute to look at though, especially the baby bunnies!

we have a sentence within our no pet clause about no feeding of stray animals - we have tons of feral cats that live in the neighborhood and I think the previous owner used to feed them  

My mother's neighbor put out dog food for the raccoons because she liked watching them. Once when we were visiting her we looked out the window and saw 14 raccoons on her deck! Soon after she began hearing noises on her roof at night and thought she saw a cougar. None of the neighbors believed her, so she hired a game hunter to stay at her house for a week. He saw a big cat and shot it... it was a bob cat that had followed the trail of raccoons and had been eating them. Wildlife!

I never thought of this type of clause before. it is a very interesting concept. I will definitely have to think about adding one :)

having lived in lake tahoe for a number of years it is not only a good clause but the law.feeding wild animals is dangerous and can not only cause excessive property damage but can cause grave harm Bears, coyotoes,racoons,are very dangerous Feeding one class of animals like a cat leads to attracting all the wild animals.Food is a scarce commodity for all wildlfe and you not only can harm them,you harm yourself

My tenent was feeding this feral

I caught her, and tried to get someone to take her, but nobody wanted her because of her tail.

I ended up putting her down

@Marcia Maynard and others, Wow!  I hadn't even thought about the entire food chain.  Providing a nice place for the cougar to come hunting - yikes!

Originally posted by @Joe Cummings:

My tenent was feeding this feral

I caught her, and tried to get someone to take her, but nobody wanted her because of her tail.

I ended up putting her down

 I'm so full of shlt, she sleeps on my pillow, and eats only the best canned food. 

She belonged to one of my mom's tenants. The tenant went on a crack binge and got locked up. My mom tells me to  take her to a shelter. (The cat not the tenant lol)

Two days later, my mom asks "What are you going to do with the cat?"

I tell her I'll bring the animal carrier over tomorrow and take her to the SPCA

Next day, Mom says "Maybe we should wait"

Three days later, my mom says "Watch the thing she does with her paw" and wants me to hold her while she puts ear mite drops in her ear.

Considering it. I would like to stop bird feeding too in certain places-where it is actually squirrel and mice feeding.  I do have a Racoon story for you.   Got a call sunday morning saying there is a big Raccoon out there sitting in the middle of the driveway not moving. Well this is for a couple of hours so  the tenants call the police and animal control.  RI DEM says unless it is clearly rabid they don't come.  Well it is sitting there breathing, eyes open and not moving even when provoked but no according to RI animal control  its not sick and  I have to get a Pest company to  remove ( it is between the tenants and their cars). Now I have lived a number of places but I had never heard of animal control not coming for this type of animal.  I would say for those who think they will take care of it , don't assume.  Now pest control comes out and its not a company I have used before and they don't bring a cage... We have a raccoon , no cage?  Unless they were planning to shoot and bag it, I think you need a cage no?    so in short, I don't think feral animals should be fed.

All real estate is very localized. Leases need to be written to fit the property. The answer is YES. Feral animals can carry disease and be MORE that just a pest if they attack a tenant. It's a responsibility of the landlord to ensure the safety of the property.

I just got back from Home Depot - working on a shelving project that I will definitely be paying for out of my deposit (bolts in the studs) lol.  Anyway, ran into one of my fellow senior tenants, a nice old hippy-redneck kind of guy (yes, these exist in CA), and we got to chatting about the racoons.  

He said they live down in the sewer pipes, and pop up all over the place, and said a couple of big males are obviously really sick.  He's planning on sitting out one night with his .22.  LOL!

I told him, "I know nothing."  (grin)

Originally posted by @Joe Cummings :

 I'm so full of shlt, she sleeps on my pillow, and eats only the best canned food. 

 The first clue was the photos you took of a cat you were going to put down...

Good one, though.  She'd go good with my dog - who came from the shelter with no tail :-)

I don't have a clause in my rental agreement, probably should, but it would be hard to enforce without tenants or neighbor complaints.  We have ferel cats in our rental area.  The first thing we did when we bought our properties was to install really good wire mesh to stop critters from going under the duplexes.  Tenants put out milk and remove the mesh, then have the nerve to call us and tell us they have a horrible stink under their house.  We've hired two people to remove dead carcasses, we said no more.  We try to connect the dots for them, but they deny everything.

Originally posted by @Michele Fischer :

... We try to connect the dots for them, but they deny everything.

Them being able to connect the dots requires the ability to get the numbers counted in the correct sequence, or letters of the alphabet ordered in the proper sequence - those sorts of skills might exceed what your tenants are capable of :)

Oh my gosh Joe I was going to go off on you... thank you for not putting her down...here they have started a local program to monitor feral cat colonies...how that will work I do not know...also I think it is illegal to shoot bobcats...but I understand about being scared of giant raccoon's they killed my neighbors old cat so agree with the clause

Thanks for bring this topic up! We have some pretty big possums and raccoons around my area so this is a perfect topic :)

I thought I'd do a little update on this old thread.  The management here did some major cleaning up of the landscaping around the building, completely removing most of the hiding areas for the cats and raccoons.  It seems to have really helped lower the number.  I haven't even seen a raccoon since they did it, and no cats other than the one really old one that everyone feeds.

They just removed most of the shrubbery, and the ones they left, they trimmed severely.  Basically, there's no hiding places anymore.  I don't know if that was the reason they did it, but it sure seems to have gotten rid of most of the pests.

Another thing they did, was they installed a trash compactor under the trash chute, instead of just having open dumpsters.  The trash goes into a closed unit that compacts the garbage automatically every now and then.  For all I know, they did this just to make trash clean-up easier, but it's also gotten rid of the problem of the raccoons climbing into those dumpsters.

So, it's much better from my point of view (someone who doesn't want the feral animals around where I live).

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.