What am I walking into with these feuding neighbors?

17 Replies

What would you do?

I’m working on a deal and we are close to closing it. I find out the tenants have serious problems because one of the tenants dogs ran into the other tenants yard and bit their dog causing permanent damage.

A little cheap wire fence was thrown up, but the tenant with the injured dog is extremely upset that the previous landlord didn’t do anything about the issue and asking me to resolve it.

I have no idea how to handle this? The other landlord just did nothing, so the problem will still be there.

Evict all tenants with a no dog policy? The whole lot has dogs.

Inspectors and appraisers have been paid. The bank is involved and now this? How do I address it so I don’t wind up being the one that’s bit.

Can I even evict over something that happened before owning the properties? These are all paying tenants that have been in place for 3 and 4 years, so the properties would be turn key..

What about installing an actual fence? Preferably a privacy fence, although a chain link would be cheaper. I'm not sure how big your lot is, but I know from personal experience, fences can be expensive. You implied that both neighbors are tenants so why not try to contact the owner of the other property and see if he/she will split the cost of the fence on the property line? That would lower the cost a little.

The other option is to not renew their lease when it's up. 

Sounds like you either enforce your lease with a no dog policy or put up a fence or barrier . If this is a major dilemma for you then self managing is going to be a long hard road for you

@Roxanne McClain

Hi Roxanne,

If you are going to be a Pet Landlord, you might want to think about having "Pet Rules" for the Pet owners in the lease (a dogs paw print on the lease won't hold up in court).

Then if there's a violation of your "Pet Rules" you could simply remind the resident they have to follow the reasonable rules of conduct regarding their pet, or you could (possibly) serve an eviction notice for "pet rules violation" (if your local jurisdiction will evict for that).

Also an animal that has attacked a person or another animal on the property might need to be removed immediately to avoid a potential liability issue for yourself. (Discuss this with a local attorney)

It would be wise to discuss your lease wording options regarding this and your legal exposure as the owner of a Pet Friendly rental with a local attorney.

And at a minimum avoid the "Dog Breeds" that insurance companies will drop you for.

And regarding cats, there are no "Pit Cats" only "Pet Cats"... much less to worry about.

Good Luck!

I would suggest that you make each and every tenant that has a pet get a very high insurance policy and get one yourself to

I would make the aggressive dog leave. Part of my leasing process is not to allow aggressive dogs. What if it happens again and a kid tries to intervene? Just tell that tenant that they have the option to rehome the dog or get out of their lease early. Just explain to them that as an owner it's a huge liability for you. Also, you can insure yourself for a ton, but if something happens and they find out that it has happened previously they may try to find a way to deny your coverage. Your property, your rules. It will also make it clear to the other renters that they need to keep their own dogs in check. I would also create a dog policy of keeping them on leashes at all times. Good luck!

@Roxanne McClain

Here’s what I would do if I was in your position.. let me start by saying I do not like dogs and do not allow pets in my properties.

I would send them each a letter, explaining you will be the new owner and you understand there was/is an issue with neighbors dogs. You will not be paying for a fence, they are welcome to split the cost of one, or one of them pay the entire cost, or they may move out at any time.

Roxanne I would pay the money for a fence because of tenants dog issues.. that’s their problem not yours in my opinion, unless an atty tells you different.