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troisfils

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
My tenant has been in the property for three years. When they moved in, I approved a small toy-sized dog and waived the pet fee because of how small it was. 

Long story short, they moved other, larger breeds in without paying a deposit and there is significant damage to the grass in the rear yard. You can see walking paths, digging and urine spots.

Is the tenant liable for these damages? We're military and we have rented A LOT but we have never damaged a yard like this. We have also always been responsible for returning the yard to move in condition... including placing new sod over small garden plots. Honestly, if it was a garden it wouldn't be an issue but this is obvious pet damage. 

I have a time-stamped photograph of the yard the month before they moved in and a recent one I took. 

Any advice is appreciated! We're not real estate moguls... just a military family who owns a house we had to leave to move a few states away.
ahkenaten

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Posts: 156
Reply with quote  #2 
Normally, you would use the pet deposit to take care of that problem. Having said that, it's tricky to put it on the tenants to pay for the lawn damage if it's not written in the lease. They could easily say that another dog from the neighborhood comes by and messes up the lawn, forcing you to prove in court that it was, in fact, them and their dogs that caused the damage. I really have an issue with them moving in more dogs without your approval. That should be a violation of the lease right there but, once again, that all depends on how the lease is worded. Best advice is to talk to them. Show them the before/after pictures and let them know they have to pay for the resodding. If it were me, I would just throw them out for violating the lease by bringing more unapproved dogs that they clearly can't take care of responsibly. If I knew they were good tenants who just have that one issue of too many dogs, I'd tell them to get rid of all the dogs that they moved in except for the one dog I approved. But I don't know what your financial situation is, so maybe the first option (talking to them) is better for you.

In the future, don't waive the pet deposit... or any kind of deposit for that matter. That kind gesture will almost always come back to haunt you, and deposits are so important. Believe me, I've made that mistake and paid for it dearly. If they are reasonable tenants, then you have a shot at making things work for the time being. But, in my experience, situations like this are the beginning of the end. Good luck!
fletcher

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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi, once you have decided to rent your home and garden to a tenant with a dog you should include a pet clause in your tenancy agreement. Now I think the only think you can do is to get rid of the waste from your garden. I can recommend you the garden waste clearance experts from Space Junk.
LLinVA

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Posts: 186
Reply with quote  #4 
Can't you take repairs out of their regular deposit? I would think damage to the property is damage to the property. Whether it is dogs walking, kids on bikes, or parking a car on the grass, damage is damage. Let them know it needs to be corrected before they move out and they may buy the sod, put it down, and all this is taken care of. 
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