Urgent, Help, Potential Tenant with Pitball

134 Replies

Your property manager must not be licensed, or just ignorant of the laws, you might want to determine which. Dogs are not a protected class. I'm relatively sure that nobody recognizes a pit pull as a "service animal" I wouldn't rent to anyone with a pit bull myself, though most are harmless, when they do attack, it can be deadly. 

So much drama for nothing. Fire your PM immediately, then either rent out the unit or withdraw the unit from the rental market. Tell that trouble tenant that the unit is rented. Everyone talk about sue and such ... not many of them ever do it. And if they do, it’s your landlord insurance that will step up and protect you.

i was just told by a potential renter i had to rent to her , and that her service dog had doctors papers so i couldn't discriminate . so after chatting with our landlord lawyer , they basically said to say al little as possible ; something to the effect of " i went with another applicant who was a better fit " if they ask why , just repeat the statement , don't elaborate at all . i don't mind dogs , but if i need to get into an apartment in an emergency , i don't won't to have to think about what if .

i always wonder why every service animal or therapy dog is a pitbull ? it sure seems that 97% are :(

WOW! No way you rent to these folks! Anyone who throws out "I will sue if I don't get my way" will be nothing but trouble for you. As many have said Dogs are not a protected class and I'm assuming they haven't provided you with the appropriate documentation  to prove it's a service animal. Your insurance policy overrides whatever policy they may tell you they have. Yours will be in place a month from now how do you know their policy will be, they could cancel it at anytime or just never pay the premium. If you ever tried to evict these people you will never get them out. If your PM doesn't feel comfortable denying these folks then do it yourself but document everything. After you've done that immediately fire your PM, just based on this instance you have cause. They are not looking out for your best interest and this should have been a simple denial based on what your insurance company requires. The situation never should have escalated to this point but you want all involved out of your life as soon as possible

Theres a balance of power going on here. The owner of the property needs to be in charge of their property. You arent. If the PM isnt working in your best interests, fire them. Now. They work for you, you dont work for them.

Hi Steve Vaughan,

For smaller retail spaces I have not seen vacancy for 2 years time. Usually it's maybe 3 to 4 months time if location is strong and retail is not overbuilt for the area then many tenants want the space. If a tenant is fixing to go out it can be less time as the landlord is already negotiating an LOI and then an executed lease with the tenant.

Larger spaces big box can sit for awhile but those are rarely built new today mainly re-purposed.

In some cold belt states net migration away produces excess inventory and with no growth then other tenants aren't lined up to take the space.

Most of my clients are buying in high growth warm belt states even if they live in cold belt. I am sure long  term vacancy is possible even on small units for more difficult to fill type properties.

There is one newer center on a side road I drive to my office. It is the weirdest design I have ever seen. Originally was going to be a Food Lion but they backed out at the last second so became a Good Will store. The design has the Goodwill store pushed way back from the road as  a separate building and then has to the right of it way over but not connected a retail strip center new build. From the main road it sits back about 500 feet and they have the detention pond at the main road in front! LOL   It looks like swamp land. They have 2 tenants in the retail space the last few years and rest is vacant. In front of the Good Will store at the main road they are trying to sell an out parcel right in the middle of the curb for development and it is literally down in a 75 foot hole.

The whole design for this center was crap. They should have brought the sight lines up to road level and put strip center front as you drive in and then Good Will right behind it with parking lot. Out parcels would have sold if at street level. Developer likely purchased land wrong and paid too much and then tried to take short cuts to make the project work. Didn't want to spend extra money on raising up the dirt to proper levels or putting in large retaining wall in back. 

So sometimes it is not the area at all but the design of the project was inferior.

Nothing is perfect but I can tell you I really enjoy dealing with business tenants over residential tenants. 

I’ve been a PM in California for over 10 years and have seen it all. We had a tenant that wasn’t suppose to have a dog at all and snuck their pit bull in. When we started eviction for no rent collected it was a nightmare to even get access to the house because the pit bull was there. We couldn’t even serve them in person. No one was willing to find out if it was “friendly” or not.
You can review the application yourself, check criteria and deny based on the application alone and leave the dog issue aside. As an owner, you can set your own criteria on what you want for a tenant. (Income, past rental experience, credit)
Get all other applications and simply find a better applicant.

As a PM myself, your PM has to go. If you feel something isn’t right then it probably isn’t. PM’s have a lot of control over your assets. Trust us key & if you don’t have the trust in your PM to see your best interests from here on out, start fresh with someone else or self manage is best.

@Joel Owens , please don't take this the wrong way, as I respect your knowledge about commercial spaces and the amount of information you share here. 

But I have to wonder, why you keep coming onto residential threads and always write how you're so happy to not be dealing with residential and how much better commercial is? Wouldn't it be easier for you to just comment on commercial threads, if you don't like residential?

Hi Michaela,

I do occasionally comment on residential threads but not all the time.

I have heard so many stories over the years from unhappy residential landlords. It takes a certain personality to make those work. I have had people thank me before as they did not know there were other options out there and were burnt out on residential. I think that would be one of things that surprises a lot of people with what all is involved being a residential landlord and making it work. The benefit for sure is entry level is cheap to get started and gain traction. Most I know that stick with it do not keep lower end priced rental for long and they move up to higher end residential's or 2,3,4 type units. Eventually they branch out to into other assets.  

I have friends that own residential and they are happy with it.  I have a business owner friend in the same office park as me that is late 60's in age. He has done well with residential with a net worth around mid 7's . He has the personality for it. 

I think it can be great to see if various avenues are available so that someone can decide if they want to refine what they are doing and stay with it or they are looking for another way. Some people wanted to be residential investors and others become an accidental landlord and just stick with it because they feel trapped.

Even though I am well versed on residential I don't post as much in the past as I would get contacted with lot's of eviction and other type questions.

Residential can be like the stock market in that it has a lot of ups and downs and not everyone can stomach it on a continual basis.  

I hope things work out for the original poster. I do have plenty of business so not really trying to sell people on commercial in fact out of those that call me maybe it's right for about 3 to 4 out of 10. The rest of them had the wrong perceived reality of what they thought it would be or do not understand the financing side of it. 

Originally posted by @Michaela G. :

@Joel Owens , please don't take this the wrong way, as I respect your knowledge about commercial spaces and the amount of information you share here. 

But I have to wonder, why you keep coming onto residential threads and always write how you're so happy to not be dealing with residential and how much better commercial is? Wouldn't it be easier for you to just comment on commercial threads, if you don't like residential?

I hear you - sometimes the moderators need to be moderated too ;)

If it is a service dog you could be found to be discriminating against a handicapped person if you reject them for that reason. Normally I would meet the dog and see if it is a sweet dog or not. However, when people threaten me it is a red flag that they are not nice people and most likely this is not the first time they have shown poor behavior. If you check there application you will find some good reasons not to have them in my place. You dont have to tell them why. Just document your rationale for choosing the best candidate. Don't engage. You can find a better applicant.

@Jo Zhou This is nuts. The first thing you need to do is fire your PM. Many insurance companies won't underwrite a policy if their is what is classified a viscous breed or over a certain weight. You could find yourself not being able to get coverage if you allowed it.

Michael Biggs that’s nonsense. Please specify what cause the pit bull owner would have a reasonable basis for a fair housing lawsuit. Not sure why you are trying to scare the op with a possible spurious lawsuit

Originally posted by @Peter Amour :

i was just told by a potential renter i had to rent to her , and that her service dog had doctors papers so i couldn't discriminate . so after chatting with our landlord lawyer , they basically said to say al little as possible ; something to the effect of " i went with another applicant who was a better fit " if they ask why , just repeat the statement , don't elaborate at all . i don't mind dogs , but if i need to get into an apartment in an emergency , i don't won't to have to think about what if .

i always wonder why every service animal or therapy dog is a pitbull ? it sure seems that 97% are :(

 Most tenants will ask up front & will go find another property if you say no pet allowed. Those that argue and quote law, only rent to them if you enjoy headache and being sued.

Not related, but I had a guy who show up with a cane, walk slowly, saying that he is disable & earning disable income. Half way through viewing the house, he got excited talking about how he will organize and decorate the house ..., he walked around faster than I could walk  :D

Oh lord ...I rented for years from a wonderful well know high power local investor.. this is NOT an issue I have 2 pitbulls and in my lease it stated that I  MUST carry renters insurance that covers my dogs! Now with that said there are only a few companies that will...cover them and it is pricy...plus it is UNFAIR to breed shame because we had a tenant that I had removed with a lab it was a vicious dog tried biting everyone...even muzzled...and it is NEVER on the banned list! So you really need to take dogs case by case my two are couch potatoes ..and don't even bother to get up and bark. MY advise is enforce a lease that calls for prove of renters insurance with pet rider with dog breed included. ...vet and shot records.. most of all meet the dog of course REMEMBER ANY dog can bite or be aggressive or a plain pain with barking etc...use common sense. Do not hate on a breed there are plenty of bad aggressive dogs of all breeds out there. I would think twice about starting a relationship with anyone who wants to sue me off the bat as well rather than talk and ask about solutions first like the things I have suggested first.

Yeah, lots of dogs bite, but I can drop kick most of them into next week.  Pit bulls that bite are much more dangerous and I refuse to allow any pit or pit cross in any of our homes.   Our pet policy states, "no dogs over 25 lbs, no pit bulls or pit crosses".   At first we just had the size limit and thought that would stop the pit bull owners, but we had to add the pit disclaimer because they still ask about their damn pit bulls.  And even now we get people trying to slip past it, "oh, he's just a puppy, oh he's the sweetest thing".  I DON'T CARE.  No pits.

Even if you rented to them now, they would threaten lawsuits every time there's something they don't like or that they want. Once you give into extortion, the extortionist will keep coming back with higher and higher price to pay. 

Your pit bulls are couch potatoes....until they arent. It happens all the time, after the first attack, or killing of a neighbors dog, its always "but they are so sweet, they never did that before". I wouldnt wait for the first time. They have a history, they are banned in several counties, and insurance will not cover them. Theres a reason for this.

They are not entitled to the dog since it is not certified. Being in the process of getting it certified is not the same as being certified. I would let the PM know to continue searching for tenants and to show the apartment until a qualified tenant is found. There is not any reason to hold the apartment while they get the dog certified. Put pressure on them to actively search for a tenant and let them know you will be terminating their contract if they do not find someone else fast. Also are their any collections or bad marks on their credit report, a lack of stable job history with enough income to cover the rent, low credit score, or any issues with the landlord reference check with their previous landlord? You may be able to deny them based on one of these issues.

Since they are already threatening a lawsuit I would not rent to them no matter what. Be prepared to hire a lawyer not affiliated with your PM if they do sue and just remember if they do actually file suit it does not mean they will win. Do not let the PM scare you into taking this tenant.

I bet if you were to contact previous landlords, preferably ones before the present one, they would have some stories to tell you. I'm sure this is not the first time they're threatening.

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