“Visiting” dog advice

11 Replies

Hey I am searching for some advice on how to handle my current situation. I bought a duplex a year ago and my girlfriend and I house hack and live in the upstairs unit. We have an extremely friendly 11 month old poodle mix. I had new tenants move in below a couple months ago, and she has a small Shih tzu. My lease clearly states “only pet living on the premise is: Shih tzu”, and “ any changes in pet occupancy will require written consent of landlord”. During the first week the tenant moved in I saw her with two dogs (Shih tzu and a dachshund) and asked what was going on. She states it’s a family dog and kinda bounces around staying with everyone, and that “it will be staying here occasionally”. I was kind of taken aback by the abruptness of the statement and just said “okay” and never pushed it any further. It appears to be in the apartment for weeks on end now, and recently had two separate incidents. She mentioned her fan wasn’t working and after setting a time with her I went in to fix it when nobody was home. The dog was extremely aggressive barking and showing it’s teeth and I had to use a broom that it was afraid of to keep it from getting too close. I’m a dog person and this was surprising to me that it didn’t warm up or I was even afraid to put my hand out for it to smell and calm down. The second incident was yesterday when my girlfriend was walking our dog. She came back to our house and found the shih tzu tied up to our dog run (if we aren’t using it I have no problem with her using it), but the dachshund was off the leash and aggressively ran at my dog nipping and barking at it. My tenant had her grandchild in her arms so couldn’t stop it, so my girlfriend quickly brought ours upstairs and sent me a very upset text about the aggressive dog and not being able to use our own yard because of a dog that isn’t even on the lease! How do I handle this situation? Should it be added to the lease? (If it was originally I wouldn’t have thought anything of it as it’s not a generally aggressive breed) If that dog bites someone do I have any liability? (there is wording in the lease that the tenant assumes full responsibility for personal injuries and damages due to pets). There is also wording that the dog should be leashed at all times on property, but this would be hard to enforce because we are training our pup and often times have him off leash to teach come and other skills. On a side note I have a statement in the lease saying “pets shall not urinate or defecate inside the premise, this includes “pee pads””, and when I was fixing the fan noticed pee pads in the laundry room. I took a $200 non refundable cleaning fee and 1.5x security deposit so if it smells like pee when she moves out I figure I will just have it professionally cleaned and deduct anything over 200 from he security deposit. Any and all advice and suggestions are welcome! Thanks for your time reading and I look forward to hearing from you all!

or give the illusion of choice, allow the dog but remind them that it must be accompanied with it's owner at all times. Failure to maintain control of dog will result in loss of visitation rights...

You have been too nice. What was the point of signing the lease if you didn't intend to uphold it? You need to give her your local version of a 5 day notice to cure or vacate, and clearly explain that shittzu is the only dog allowed on the property. No visiting. No pet-sitting. No doggy play dates. Kindly remind her these are the terms she agreed to, and remind her that failure to comply will result in eviction. Its your property, not hers.

“‘It WILL be staying here occasionally “

What ?? This is insanity ! Who is the landlord you or her ? You are letting this person walk all over you by being timid and not enforcing the lease . This may sound harsh but You are really screwing this landlord thing up right from the start bro . You must be firm you must stick to the lease you must enforce the rules of the lease even if it’s confrontational . Look if you want to Regain control do the following : write up a notice on paper and tape it directly on the front door then take a picture of it with your phone for future use if need be . The document will state that she is not complying with the lease in section blah blah by having an authorized pet and failure to comply will result in eviction . If she calls or confronts you about it which she probably will you inform her that there is no visiting or dog sitting and it is not allowed to be there under any circumstances period . If she doesn’t like it and makes things hard ..then get rid of her first chance you get ! Stop letting this idiot tell you how it’s going to be !

Aside from what's already mentioned, I just wanted to note one thing: just because your lease says her dog must be leashed at all times (aside from the non-invited dog), doesn't mean that same rule has to apply to you. You own the property and get to set the rules, local, state and federal law notwithstanding. That means if you want to let your dog run the property without his leash, that's your right, while the tenant watches with her dog on a leash. 

Give her a notice and tell her the dog is not on the lease and visiting dogs are not allowed. I would also give her notice on the pee pad. Tell her you will not add the dog to the lease as it has been aggressive and asking to add it now means she misrepresented the dogs ownership when she initially spoke to you. 

I do it like a visiting person, if that person or animal is there for more than 14 consecutive or non-consecutive days out of the year, they must be a registered occupant. And if it's up to you, maybe it's OK they have a second dog, but they have to pay the second dog fee, and have to have proof that it spayed or neutered.

I think you need to let your tenant know that having this other dog on the premises is not allowed per the lease. As the other posts have mentioned, it would be wise to give a 5 day notice to cure or vacate. Clearly the dog is causing issues, so personally I wouldn't allow her to add the dog to the lease. Best of luck! 

I would give her written notice that only the approved dog is allowed on your property. Also remember you are the owner and not the tenant so if your dog is off the leash that is ok. You do not have to follow the same rules as your tenant. You allowing your dog off the leash does not give the tenant a free pass to do the same since the tenant is bound by a lease.

If you decide to keep this tenant when the lease is up for renewal I would require proof of renters insurance which covers her dog as a condition of renewal. Make sure that your homeowners insurance also covers dog bites ASAP.

Dachshund are actually the #1 most aggressive breed of dog. Way above Pitt bulls, Rottweiler, Doberman.... sounds like you need to ask her to go let that dog “visit” another family member and not come back.