Tenant gave notice & now got a dog - how would you play it?

39 Replies

A tenant gave me notice and I confirmed it and posted a letter on the door as well as sent certified letter.  She has broken the front door and basically messed up the unit.  She is to be out at the end of April.  Now she has gotten a dog (or one of the people she has staying there has a dog) and they let it run loose apparently (I just found this out last night).  She does not have a pet addendum.  Do I file eviction paperwork for this or let it ride with the end of the lease (hoping she is out).  If anyone wants to share a letter they would post / send please send it to me.

So without a pet addendum can I send a letter stating there will be a $50 charge for each present left for me to pick up?  $100 pet fee per month added?

If she's out at the end of April, a pet fee probably isn't worth it.  Ask her for a pet deposit as there may be extra damage from the pet.

An eviction will likely take more than a month to process.  Someone with more experience of evictions can tell you how long it takes.

I would post a letter at the door stating that with only weeks before her departure, you would not want her to lose the return of her security deposit due to damage to the property or by having a pet on the premises.  As a result, a pre-exit inspection has been scheduled for (give your state's legal inspection notice); while this inspection will not replace the one at the time she exits the property, it will give both parties an indication of any possible offsets to her security deposit. 

This will "remind" her that damages and lease violations will not be over-looked.  If the dog is there during the inspection (or it's obvious that one has been there), you can remind her that a pet on premises is a violation of her lease and ask how she would like to remedy it:  dog be found a temporary home, she can move out now - but rent still due until notice date, etc.  

If you "just let it all go" until she moves out, she will "let it all go" and the damages will be greater than they already are.  Protect your property and landlord rights.  A "friendly" letter reminding her that return of a security deposit is not an automatic event may do the trick.

May the force be with you...

Know your state/county landlords laws. I don’t suggest an eviction as it would be wasted time and money. 

Definitely post a letter ASAP to protect yourself if future litigation is required. 

Nickle and dime her on the deposit.

Lastly, document everything day-to-day just in case court proceedings come into the picture.

Be firm, yet gentle. You don’t want the tenant to become a squatter — you would be surprised as to what great lengths people would go to.

To your success!

I don't believe I have to worry about the deposit as her kids (who were removed) crayoned all the walls so a full paint job is needed, they also ran and indoor air conditioner and it leaked and ruined the hardwood floor and ceiling below her apartment. She wrote on the wall herself and spray painted over it.  Broken front door as well, paint on some windows (she said it washes off).  I want to let it ride until her lease is over (I hope she goes quietly at that point) yet need to state damage.  I sent a text asking if she got a dog and she replied - "who said this?"  I have a picture of it and it's obvious which tenant sent it.  I ASKED her if she got a dog.  I did not accuse her of having the dog.  Also what if the excuse is - it's a friends dog.

She sounds like a gem, not.  Good luck.  Mr Clean erasers (and knock offs) do a great job removing some crayons on the walls. Spray paint not so much.  Remember to take photos of everything when you do the walk through WITH her.  The pre-move out inspection is a good idea, though if there is  a lot of damage and she knows she won't get her deposit back, she may cause more damage.

she may cause damage, her "guests" may cause damage, the dog may cause damage.  And she wonders why I'm not upset with her leaving.  Even tho I get rent on time the drama and headaches are too much.  Not renewing lease.

@Lewis Christman

You’ve got a bit of a sticky situation here. If she is a wreckage as you’ve stated, and gave you notice, there’s no telling if she’s actually going to leave when she said she is. Depending on how much time is left for her, you may want to file eviction if you have grounds for one. Good luck sir!

I ask for 45 day notice so she has until end of April.  She has tried to "take it back" yet that's not happening from my point.  My concern is her staying and then doing the eviction.  She can go without the eviction on her record or she can go with it on her record and I will need to deal with issues either way.

Regarding the dog - if she says it's a friends how do I play that?  I want to give notice that for each poop I pick up it will be $50 per incident applied to tenant.  I also want to ask for $100 more in rent for next month if she admits it is hers.

You give notice - try to walk it back - then a dog shows up.  Seriously?

I would expect there is a good possibility of you being forced to evict regardless. The dog is really a non issue at this point in time that you should let go. Hope she leaves as agreed but be prepared for her to stall, beg, plead etc. If this begins make it clear you intend to evict.

Send official notification before the end of March that you are not renewing the lease.  

Well, as my wife says to me when I have the same sorts of feelings about this stuff, "You signed up for it". Thanks honey.

But yes, this is the place where you can come and vent it all out and we will listen, even if your wife is a big meanie like mine.

I have a feeling you have all the rest figured out.

$50 a poo sounds about right. Even better, charge $50 and pay the kid $5. See? I just found a way for you to be happy about it all...sort of.

Sorry to hear it all. You have the bad tenant poster child.

How would I play it? Sigh. I dunno. I might set up a tent in the backyard and move in. Kidnap the dog and give it a decent home. Ask if they have sugar every morning for my coffee? LOL.

But seriously, I would probably size them up and make a judgement call between waiting to let them move out, or using the dog as a great opportunity to get the process started early. I think the decider would be if I thought they were actually going to move out or not. One way or the other, I would be in their face as much as possible. People get real bold until you look them in the eye.

If she's taking care of it for a friend, then it shouldn't be there when you go.  Her lease says no pets, so no pets are permitted on the premises.  Her friend can find another person to take care or it or put it in a kennel.

File the eviction if you don't feel that she will leave at the end of April.  When you do the pre-move inspection ask her how the house hunt is going.

@Lewis Christman

We've all been here before, Lewis. Good luck, document everything with notes and pics, and ding the deposit as much as you can because its not as much as it's going to cost to fix it. It's probably going to get uglier before it gets better.

Issue notice to remove the dog or sign pet addendum.

Doesn’t matter who owns it. It’s not allowed on the property.

Issue notice to repair paint and windows.

Professional painting costs a lot of money. Windows cost a lot of money.

Get some quotes and give them to the tenant along with a notice saying it will be billed to them if not remedied.

Give them a time frame for it all. If not completed at reinspection bill or evict.

Did you not have them sign any rules?

@Lewis Christman , tenants that destroy houses, fail to parent their children and ignore the terms of a lease are not worried about their credit or getting their deposit back, IMHO.  

I would start the ckock ticking--post the proper notice and let her know she is to be out at end of April or sooner, or eviction will commence.

Then smile and tell her that if she leaves sooner, and cleans up her mess, you will give her 'cash for keys'.

Let her know the pet is not allowed.  Then contact your local animal control and let them know the dog has been running loose.

Lastly, moving forward, more periodic home inspections might help keep this type of problem under control.

@Lewis Chrisman, for our future use, can you share with us how she slipped thru the cracks? That is, did her application give any hint that she was trouble? is this a c/d unit and this type of tenant is expected in your units? I have had these types of tenants in the past  - but in retrospect I knew what i did wrong (allowed a friend of a friend to rent without fact checking the application).  Thanks - and sorry for your problems.    

@Merritt S. Tent in the backyard! Lol that's hilarious! Sounds like something I would think of.😂

I need to document and inspect more often and be more of a hardass.  @Ken V. I am in a C area (in my opinion and maintain a B unit so I don't expect fabulous people.  She is a Vet on disability, guaranteed money.  Mom is the fiduciary and I have a co-signer.  Mom pays however this girl does not care.  Cops have said to get rid of her before summer when I stopped by the station.  She has 3 kids and youth services has stepped in now.   The boyfriend is on vacation courtesy of the county.  She has people in and out  

Not sure how to know that up front.  Mom was fiduciary and I got a co-signer and I deal with people with issues.

@Lewis Christman if your going to make up arbitrary fines, not listed in the lease why not make it like $1,000 dollars a turd? Does sending it as a posted letter make it seem more officious?

I would send a Cure or quit letter for the dog, wait the minimum time to see if it is remedied then send a notice of eviction for breach of the lease. What matters in most places is when the clock starts which would be when you send the eviction notice. In Texas for example I must wait 3 days before I can file for eviction. I can always wait more, just not less. That way if she is not out by the date she agreed, you can immediately file instead of having to send a letter for non-payment of rent and then waiting the required amount of time. Filing costs money so I wouldn't do it until the day after she is supposed to be out since you are already so close. 

Maybe the cure letter will remind her about the deposit she won't get back unless she removes the dog but most tenants don't expect the deposit back anyway so it probably won't help. Also, you should write into your lease what the penalty is for having a pet even if you don't have an addendum. That way you have evidence for why you took it out from a security deposit. Mine is $250 and $25/day until the pet is removed. You could try to charge per dog turd but not sure that would hold up in court. 

Just serve her the notices and go from there, not sure if you need to let the mom and co-signer know; I would just because their names appear on the lease.

Mom knows because she is the fiduciary and required to pay the bills (and I think it was fair to give her a heads up if there are poop fees).  Non renewal of month to month lease gives her until end of April to go.  After that it will be eviction for possession if she pushes it.  Mom will pay the rent until then and she agreed to pay the fee for the dog poop (although the tenant denies having the dog) so I told her and the other tenants since the was apparently a stray dog to call animal control.

When I called out the tenant and mentioned the poop fee - she denied having a dog. My other tenant then texted me that she left with the dog and returned with out it (playing the game).

I just want to end the month to month lease and have her go without issues.

@Theresa Harris , I have mixed thoughts about not getting the cosigner and mom involved,  for the same reasons we record judgments even though we know there are  -0- odds we will collect;  at least other owners/managers will know about this tenant's past (assuming they perform background checks).

If the people who are supposed to be watching out for her don't do something to correct her behavior, it's certain the tenant will keep on their dangerous and (self) destructive path.  

I'm certainly not a social worker, but the mom and the co should be informed.  Then it is up to them to take action or not.  Besides, the reason for a co-signer is to guarantee the payments.  If you pursue them in the judgment/damages, perhaps they won't be so enabling going forward.

I'm just saying...

Majority of tenants do not inform the landlord that they have pets or several dogs on premise. April is coming make sure they did not do more damage.

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