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Tiznow

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 
I have rented the same property for 10 years and had the same dogs for those years. There had never been any complaints by neighbors or the landlord. 
Recently, the landlord sent me a list of breeds of dogs that are not allowed by their insurance  company. 
I sent her proof that my dogs were not of any breed on the list. 
She never addressed the issue and said I had to remove the dogs or else.

I  removed the dogs.
She never sent proof that my dogs were on that list. 

I was recently given the new lease. It does not mention the breeds of dogs that are not allowed. It just says one dog is allowed and others must be approved by the landlord. 

Should the lease not be more specific and mention the breeds of dogs not allowed?
Should the lease mention that it is the INSURANCE company that must approve the dogs, not the landlord. (The ONLY people that EVER deemed my dogs dangerous in the 10 years I was there was the INSURANCE company, who happened to be there when I was not home. They were inspecting the roof, saw the dogs in their secure kennels, and deemed them dangerous.)

What say you about these issues?




OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,734
Reply with quote  #2 
I'm sorry.  But an owner is free to set any pet policies they like.  He is free to change that policy over time.  The owner decided you could not have dogs, for whatever reason.  You removed them so you can stay in the rental.  It doesn't have to be in the lease.  The owner does not have to prove an insurance company did not want them.  Pets can be allowed in one rental and not in another.  Pets in a rental are not a right, they are allowed or disallowed per the landlord's wishes.  Many landlords allow one pet and occasionally 2, with additional monthly charges and pet deposits.  You don't say what kind of dogs you had or how many.  I suspect that neighbors did complain, just not to you.
Tiznow

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #3 
Absolutely the owner can do anything she wants regarding her property. She doesn't have to explain anything. 

But she did send me via snail mail a letter asking me to remove the dogs and quoted the relevant insurance rule. 

Because my dogs were not on the list, I responded showing her what they were. I mean, what was I supposed to do? Just go along with a falsehood? I read the rule and my dogs didn't apply. I responded. If she didn't want them there, just say that. But she gave me something to respond to. 

But she did not respond back except with the "or else" kind of response. I had to euthanize my dogs. My dogs who had never bothered anyone (I live in the boonies on a couple acres and the nearest neighbor lives 1/4 mile away and watches the dogs when I'm gone. We are on good terms and I doubt he complained). I had to destroy my dogs.

Now, the lease says I can have one dog. What if I get a dog and it's someday deemed dangerous? I mean, I had the same dogs for 10 years and it took one very specific day and person to change everything.

Since it was never the landlord that made the decision that my dogs were dangerous, but  the insurance company, should that not be known to someone who chooses to have the one allowed dog that the insurance company will make that decision?

Now, renting comes with risks and I get it. My dogs paid a price for me to stay here. But does this have to happen again to me or someone else? 

Probably my beef is more with the insurance company policy -- have any of you had to apply this kind of rule?







LLinVA

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Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #4 
Something sounds fishy. If your dogs weren't one of the breeds listed by the insurance company, they wouldn't care and never made any decision (they probably never even knew you had dogs). Either the landlord is sloppy and clueless, or there is something else going on. The fact that later they are saying you can have one dog shows something is wrong with what happened before. 

Insurance companies have the statistics that show certain breeds are more likely to be aggressive and therefore cost them money. That's what an insurance company wants to avoid, which is why they prohibit them. They don't go on a case by case basis, they are all statistics and math, it's black and white with them (i.e. no pit bulls even most are fine). Any landlord will have to follow the rules of their insurance company, whatever they may be.

The only reason a dog would be okay now and not later would be either 1 - the insurance company expands their list of prohibited breeds or 2 - the landlord starts a new rule stating no dogs, or has their own list of prohibited breeds, max size, etc.

Anything established by the landlord should be in the lease (that's the legal contract here after all). If it's not the law, a policy of the insurance company, or in the lease, it doesn't stand (until the landlord doesn't renew your lease and offers you a new one with the new rules).
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,734
Reply with quote  #5 
It is perfectly legal.  The tenant says they lived there for 10 years.  So more than likely, they are tenants at will (month to month).  All the owner needs to do is give proper notice of any change in terms (like no dogs at your unit now) and it is legal.  Just because the lease may say that you COULD have a dog doesn't mean you are ALLOWED to have one.  The owner has already told you, in writing, by snail mail, that you cannot have one.  That notice by mail (proper written notice) is now the legal lease policy for this unit.  No explanation is necessary.
Tiznow

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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #6 
Can I then ask WHY a landlord would write the lease to specify that I am allowed one dog when in reality I am not allowed any dogs deemed "dangerous" by her insurance company? Why would the lease NOT include those breeds, mixes and "looks like" dogs that she quoted in her snail-mail to me? 
LLinVA

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Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #7 
They are sloppy. If the landlord has such restrictions, they should list them in the lease (breed, weight, maximum number, etc. should all be specified).

Again, I'm not sure exactly what happened before. If your dogs weren't problems and not on those lists, I don't know why she prohibited them. 

It sounds like she is giving you her standard lease which does allow the option of a dog. Have you asked her all this yet? What did she say?
Tiznow

Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #8 
I have not. I am moving and will be writing her a letter about this when I am gone.

Maybe she will write the lease differently for the next renter. I hope so.

These insurance "dog laws" are very unfair and arbitrary -- based solely on what a dog "looks like", to be determined by someone that knows nothing about dogs.

Having this happen to you is heartbreaking, and financially devastating. I UNDERSTAND this is no concern of the the landlord's but at least give the prospective new tenant a chance to decide if he/she wants to live under already known restrictions.
LLinVA

Registered:
Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #9 
That's why they have to be that way, because it is enforced by people who don't know dogs. Unfortunately, the actual statistics behind it are somewhat legitimate. The insurance companies know how often they have dog bite claims per breed and make their policies accordingly. 

Even if you had people who had a clue about dogs, the dog may be fine with them, and then tear apart a two-year-old kid who happened to get too close when the dog had a treat. The stats are the stats, and that's all an insurance company is worried about. 

Even if it isn't the insurance company, many landlords will have their own restrictions (which may include certain breeds, on their own or above and beyond what the insurance company is worried about). 

FYI, don't bring this up with the next landlord. Ask about your dog, but leave it at that. If you go into all this hassle with the last landlord, they may think you are drama and decide not to rent to you. They don't know the real story, they just know some problem people think they are victims and talk bad about their last landlord, a potential landlord can't tell the difference between them and you.
Tiznow

Registered:
Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #10 
Just as the insurance people don't know dogs, I doubt the people that compile stats know them either. Legislators, law enforcement, shelter workers and the general public don't know dogs. DNA is a farce when it comes to identifying "breed". 

I know chunky, big-headed Labrador Retrievers that get mistaken as "pit bulls". Same for Boxers (and mixes). Bernese Mountain dogs get mistaken for Rottweilers. Standard Manchester Terriers get mistaken as Dobermans....

I would just ask you guys that IF your property is covered by this type of insurance, which has a clause listing certain breeds, mixes and any dog that looks "dangerous" -- that you list that clause in your lease. The rules are unfair and arbitrary and a prospective renter should know what he is getting into, no matter what kind of dog he has or if he has no dog at all.    

A landlord whose insurance company has those rules is going to treat dogs differently (liable to have more restrictions) and she has every right to do so. But please, if these rules are known at the outset, make it obvious on the lease.  They change everything for a prospective renter. 
OHlandlord

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Posts: 3,734
Reply with quote  #11 
I agree.  Sounds like this lease is a generic one, or one they use to cover all of their rentals.  Another rental may allow pets, while they have decided that your place should no longer accept them.  Again, its legal to allow a pet in one place, but not in another.  The best way to cover the breed issue for a landlord is to restrict based on size.  Then you do not have to worry about DNA or what the pet looks like, other than how tall and heavy it is.
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