Water leak - can’t access because of pit bull

18 Replies

Overnight the ceiling in the main floor bathroom of our four plex collapsed due to a water leak. We tried to enter the unit above to shut off water and there’s an angry pit bull inside. Lease says no pets. Can’t get ahold of tenant. What do we do now?

State - Iowa.

Plumber came and went. They weren’t going to go in there. We can’t shut off main water valve since there are 4 other tenants. It seems to be a slow leak.

Do we give her notice to get the dog out or evict her?! The tenant below her just moved out unexpectedly. 

@Jessica Wood

I have a longstanding theory that the editors and moderators of this website make some of these right up out of thin air because it amuses them.

Call the cops. Emphasize the simple truth, that you don't know if the water leak is putting the other tenants in danger, as it put you in danger. Get their advice before you do anything.

Personally, if the cops were to give me the go-ahead, I would go in there with boots and a coat and heavy gloves, with a club in my hand, and do as little damage to the pit bull as I had to in order to get to right bathroom shutoff valve. I've been bitten and scratched quite a few times by terrified animals. It's part of the job description of a small-time landlord who manages and maintains his own properties.

Sit down and talk with your tenant about the dog, then come to a decision about what to do about the situation and stick with it. Either way, stay or leave for her, it will be a good learning experience.

Originally posted by @Jim K. :

@Jessica Wood

I have a longstanding theory that the editors and moderators of this website make some of these right up out of thin air because it amuses them.

Call the cops. Emphasize the simple truth, that you don't know if the water leak is putting the other tenants in danger, as it put you in danger. Get their advice before you do anything.

Personally, if the cops were to give me the go-ahead, I would go in there with boots and a coat and heavy gloves, with a club in my hand, and do as little damage to the pit bull as I had to in order to get to right bathroom shutoff valve. I've been bitten and scratched quite a few times by terrified animals. It's part of the job description of a small-time landlord who manages and maintains his own properties.

Sit down and talk with your tenant about the dog, then come to a decision about what to do about the situation and stick with it. Either way, stay or leave for her, it will be a good learning experience.

 Ha! I assure you that the moderators here have a lot more to keep them busy than thinking up crazy stories! :)

@Jim K. I can assure you the story isn’t made up. If I could find out how to post a video I’d post one of the angry dog!  I also know some people from this site in real life that’d be able to confirm I indeed texted them about this issue. 😂 I love me a good conspiracy theorist. 

Assuming you can not contact your tenant, which seems very strange, you arrange to have Animal Control present to remove the dog when you are ready to enter with your plumber.

Usually what I would do is open the doors and let the animal lose. Once it is out of the building you  can lock it out and do your work. All you tell the tenant is that it bolted when you opened the door. It is not your problem since the dog was not suppose to be there and you were unaware of it's presence when you entered.

I would not play nice. I would demand immediately removal of the animal and I would carefully inspect the unit for any damages caused by the animal. I would continue inspecting to ensure compliance. 

If the unit is damaged because the leak was allowed to continue, I would charge the tenant for the additional repairs required.

If tenants have such obvious lease violations, there is a high risk of additional problems down the road. Get rid of them.

If you can’t get ahold of your tenant. Give the dog a treat possibly by luring him/her out of the unit. Most times the pity only appears to be aggressive they’re extremely smart and loyal. I own two. Sorry to hear of this misfortune. Good luck

Hello Jessica,

My recommendation is to post notice to the tenant that you will be  entering the unit to fix the water leak, which in most cases the lease would give you the right to enter without notice since it would be considered an emergency.  In the notice notate the non-approved pet is in violation of the lease and must be removed from the property for safety reasons.

Once the leak is repaired I would send a 7 day notice to remove the pet permanently or face eviction.  However, each state has different laws so I would check with a real estate attorney if you're not familiar with the state laws to ensure you don't get yourself in trouble.  Good luck

Thank you all. She responded late last night that it was her brother’s dog and it will never happen again. I do worry about future violations. Thankfully, the leak is also fixed as of this morning. 

Originally posted by @Jessica Wood :

Surprise! The dog is back. 

Wow. Did not see that coming from a mile away...

If your lease says no animals, then follow your state's landlord tenant laws for notice to cure or quit, then follow through with eviction. But keep a record of this, because my crystal ball says this may happen again... 

I do not think anyone should be surprised that your tenant lied about the dog. Serve her a eviction notice immediately. It is easier and less trouble than not ever trusting her again. Never keep tenants that you know lie.

@Michael Plante because we entered the unit due to a maintenance emergency as mentioned in the post. I know what a pit bull looks like. Just to clarify, I don’t care about the breed. I care that there was an angry dog that would’ve surely attacked my husband that stood between him and a water leak. 

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :

How do you know it is a pitbull?

  A pit bull is like pornography - hard to articulate in writing, but you know it when you see it.