Woodbridge Property Management Blog

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New Landlords - we request that you read through all of our blog entries as some of the older posts contain the most important information that we’d like to share.

What Happens If a Tenant Has an Unauthorized Pet?

Michele - Friday, July 23, 2021
Property Management Blog

While over half of all tenants have pets, some landlords very specifically do not want pets in their homes. This may be because a member of the landlord’s family has a strong allergy to pets, or because the landlord has had (or heard of) a bad experience with pets in a rental property.

During the listing process, we will advertise the property as allowing pets or not depending on the landlord’s preference.  If a tenant is selected and a pet is authorized, a pet addendum will be included with the lease, specifying the additional responsibilities and deposit required.

But what if an unauthorized pet is found?  This does happen occasionally during our interior inspections.  Our inspector may see a pet, or evidence of one, such as a food or water bowl, or a litter box.   Other times, the condo association, HOA, or a neighbor may let us know about a pet if it is being disruptive in the community.  

If we find or are notified of a pet that is not authorized, the tenant is at that point in violation of their lease, as the lease specifically states that no pets are allowed without an approval and pet addendum.  In this case, we will issue a 21/30 Notice.  This notice informs the tenant that they have violated the terms of their lease.  They are given 21 days to correct the violation (remove the pet) or the lease can be terminated at the landlord’s request within 30 days.  The notice further states that if the same violation occurs again, the lease can be automatically terminated. 

We will follow up with additional inspections to confirm the pet has been removed.  In the case of dogs, we can also perform unannounced drive by inspections to check the yard or stop by to knock on the door (without entering) to listen for a dog barking.  If the pet is still present, we will ask the landlord if they would like to proceed with terminating the lease.  If so, we will send the appropriate notice and follow up with legal action if needed.

Note that we do advise the landlord before issuing the 21/30 Notice in case the landlord prefers to request detailed info on the pet and consider approving it. 

On a separate note, under Fair Housing Laws, tenants must be allowed have emotional support animals, even in a home that is being listed as not accepting pets.  If a tenant needs an emotional support animal to alleviate symptoms or effects of their disability, verification from a medical provider is required.

If you have any specific questions regarding pets or emotional support animals, please contact Michele Odems at 703-963-6540.