Forgot to add pet policy on lease agreement

5 Replies

Hi everyone, I discovered a major rookie mistake on my lease agreement with my current tenant who signed July 26th.  I completely left out the pet policy in the lease agreement after making adjustments to the new lease.  I advertised the home as "strictly no pets" and she didn't have any at the time.  I came across a facebook post that she publicly posted regarding a male puppy appears to be a pit bull or a mix which she is supposed to be getting on September 1st.   

How do I handle this?  Am I able to legally add a pet policy since I advertised "no pets"?  She never contacted me once regarding getting this puppy at all.  I just happened to see she popped on my friends you may know - and it was her.  

Does your lease have language saying this is the entire agreement and nothing else matters? Mine does-- but if yours doesn't, oral agreements are enforceable in Ohio. You could just send her a pet addendum to sign before you say anything about the pet, maybe she will sign it to avoid any trouble. How long is left on her lease?

30. Full Disclosure The Tenants signing this Rental Contact hereby state that all questions about this Rental Agreement have been answered, that they fully understand all the provisions of the agreement and the obligations and responsibilities of each party, as spelled out herein. They further state that they agree to fulfill their obligations in every respect or suffer the full legal and financial consequences of their actions or lack of action in violation of this agreement. Signature by the Tenant of this Rental Agreement is acknowledgement that he/she has received a signed copy of the Rental Agreement.  

That is at the end of my agreement.  She just signed on July 26th and it's a one year lease so literally just started.  

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Contract law usually upholds that agreements of 1 year or more must be in writing to be legally valid. This may vary state to state, but in my opinion, you would have no way to enforce that since it was only advertised, not in the lease.

Now, you can still send a strongly worded letter, letting the tenant know that per the advertisement pets are not allowed, and give her notice that the animal must be removed. The cost to do this is much cheaper than the cost of the animal. However, I personally, would not be willing to hire a lawyer to take this court. At the end of the lease, you can still hold her responsible for damage. Also, do quarterly inspections and immediately bill back damage. You may not be able to get ahead of this and have the pet removed, but you sure can make it financially difficult for her to keep the dog.

I would send them a Pet Addendum anyways.  Do your best to make up for this situation and have it sound favorable.  For example:  "typically we require a pet fee of $250 and monthly pet rent of $25.  Since you recently moved in, we will waive the fee and only collect on pet rent."

Kenny, would you do this even know she has no clue I know and she hasn't received the dog yet?  She is supposed to get it ont 9/1.  Should I write a letter stating as advertised no pets will be allowed?  Or would I be better off creating a Pet Addendum?