Service Dog of non-tenant...how to handle

19 Replies

I have a tenant who has been in my property for quite some time. Truth be told not exactly the best (typically late, noise complaints from my other units, parks in grass, etc) 

I've just found out that she had someone move in who is not on the lease, and also has a pet who claims to be a service dog with legitimate papers. 

That being said-am I within my rights in Ohio to provide this tenant with a 30 day notice since they 1) have someone living there without approval 2) have a pet when I have a strict no pet policy?

I'm planning to have a property inspection in the next week so I can document that there is in fact a dog, and also to assess the condition of the unit. 


From there I was planning to give 2 options. Sign a new lease, with a higher rent and provide a pet deposit or leave the property within 30 days. 

I'm aware of ADA guidelines, and don't have a problem with service animals.
I have a problem when people outright lie to me and I have a tendency to make things a little personal so I want to make sure I'm being fair since in the past I have been a little "lax" so to speak on this tenant/property in the past.

Just curious what some of you would do-or if you've had a similar situation. 


It should also be noted that I can likely fill this unit rather quickly for more money than I'm receiving now with very minimal turn costs.

@Michael Masterson give both the tenant AND the non-tenant who moved in 30 days notice and get them out, especially if you believe you can fill the unit quickly at a higher rate. This tenant has already proved they are willing to ignore the rules outlined in their current lease, so why bother with the future headaches?

@Kevin S. do you find it necessary for me to have a unit inspection just to cover myself documenting there is a dog? They are month to month now as well. 

@Michael Masterson

Sounds like it's time for them to move on. What does your lease say about giving notice to month to month tenants? You should be able to give 30 or 60 day notice for no particular reason. You could bring up some of the other issues if you like, however I would probably leave the support animal out if the discussion since you don't have to.

The dog is just a diversion.  The problem is the extra tenant moved in without approval, vetting, etc.  Give the notice and get them out.  Next.

@Michael Masterson If you feel the need to, or just want to do an inspection to see if there's been any damage or anything to your property then you can give them the proper notice and do an inspection, however if it were me I wouldn't focus on the dog (especially since it's a service animal). Also, just as an aside, a strict "no pet policy" isn't going to be a reason you can give notice since a service animal is not a pet. Just give notice due to the extra person living there in violation of the lease, do a final inspection to make sure they don't trash the place, and move on.

As everybody else said already, I'd ignore the dog for now. The problem is the tagalong boyfriend. 

If she's month to month, I'd consider non renewal, based on lease violations, noise complaints, and late rents. 

If not, I'd offer a new lease pending credit checks and such (also a petscreening check), but with rent changed to market rates. 

If they leave instead and you re-rent, I'd list it for the same amount you wanted to raise it to for them, so it doesn't become even a really weak discrimination claim for them. 

Ignore the dog, unauthorized new tenant is the real issue.

Also as an FYI, ADA does not apply to residential housing.  The Fair Housing Act is what does.

Yes I agree with others, the front and central issue is the additional occupant without prior approval, not the dog.

Unless, of course, she claims him as the service animal LOL.


@Sam Leon

Honestly what is stopping her from getting an online service animal registration for the boyfriend and claiming him as a service animal?

Originally posted by @Kris L. :

@Sam Leon

Honestly what is stopping her from getting an online service animal registration for the boyfriend and claiming him as a service animal?

 Now I'm stuck trying to reply to this and still stay PG-13 !!

Originally posted by @Kris L. :

@Sam Leon

Honestly what is stopping her from getting an online service animal registration for the boyfriend and claiming him as a service animal?

Nothing really, but even though I am not allowed to question her disability I could ask her what specific service he performs, and I bet it's something related to seizure, hmmm something like that, cough cough.

Originally posted by @Michael Masterson :

@Kevin S. do you find it necessary for me to have a unit inspection just to cover myself documenting there is a dog? They are month to month now as well. 

The dog is irrevelent to the situation . The tenant moved in an unauthorized person . Give 30 days notice on that alone . Breach of lease 

 

No need for eviction hassle if it's already month to month, works out to the same time frame. 

Another vote for the dog is irrelevant. They had another person move in who is not on the lease and if that person is paying rent to your tenant, they are subletting the unit.  Give them notice and let them find another home.

@Michael Masterson you say you are familiar with the ADA requirements and all but you also said the "dog" has all the right papers. Dogs are not ones that qualify, its the human that needs one to needs to qualify.. not the dog. (don't buy in to those internet scams with certificates, silly vest and collars; even if they say they have lawyers behind them, they are FOS) 

If there is no apparent need for the "service dog" (what is this guy blind or something?) then ask for a letter from a health care provider that diagnosed that person in need of one. What I do is compliment telling them I could never tell they needed a service animal (or emotional support animal for mental illness)  so I will have to ask for that letter to be fair to all the other tenants that have to pay deposits and extra rent for their pets. So for, its worked 100% of the time

Its a growing problem and nobody is standing up to this abuse. Not one person can do it alone. We need our associations to stop being so weak. Unfortunately, none of our landlords PACS will take up that fight from this unfair abuse on us. We need court rulings and new laws (but court rulings are faster)  I say lets all at once boycott paying them one more dime until they do