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sonny29

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Posts: 91
Reply with quote  #1 
Hello all,

so i have a situation with a tenant that has been living in a condo (Pet Free) for a year now. The HOA will not allow any pets in the units. So, a month ago my tenant met his significant other who has a emotional support dog, and she comes and goes at anytime which is not a big deal. But now my tenant wants to house his GFs dog 2-3 nights a week while she is away for work. And being that she is not the legal tenant, is this allowed?? 

ive never come across this issue, but now i can see that my tenant is pushing my to accept a pet. She is not a legal tenant and is just a guest. What can i do? Has anyone had this problem?

I dont want to have an issues with my perfect tenant, but now i can see he is becoming very demanding and manipulative. 

thanks


AccidentalRental

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Posts: 52
Reply with quote  #2 
This is not legal advice so please check with a local professional before taking any action. Here are my thoughts. 

If it is not his emotional support animal (ESA) then you are not obligated to make reasonable accommodations.

Your agreement is with him, not the girlfriend.  I would be firm and explain the ESA is not allowed to stay because it is a violation of the Condo rules.  If he tries to claim it is an ESA and the condo rules don't apply, then explain that it is a pet because it is not his ESA.  

You should also update your lease to include a provision limiting overnight guests to 3 nights per month or whatever is allowed locally. This will prevent the guest from acquiring tenant privileges under the eyes of the law.

Here's a guide to dealing with pets for more information.  Good luck!

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LLinVA

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Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #3 
Let's give her a ton of benefit of the doubt even though it's obvious she's a fake. The dog can be there when she is. If it doesn't need to be with her all the time then it is obvious it is not a legitimate ESA otherwise she would be having breakdowns when she was away from it. The tenant cannot house pets, which is what this animal is to him even if it's a genuinely needed ESA for her (which it's obviously not). So it can be there to support HER when SHE is there. Otherwise, it is prohibited.
sonny29

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Posts: 91
Reply with quote  #4 
UGH!  so how am i to prove that the dog is there more than she is? and if there is a guest that stays over night (California) how many days a month is allowed? and how do i regulate this?
LLinVA

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Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #5 
You prohibit the tenant from having the dog there without his girlfriend. It sounds like he asked, so you tell him know, it's prohibited. After that, I wouldn't sweat it too much unless you get a complaint.

Check state law to see what could constitute habitation and put a limit in your lease that is in accordance with this (i.e. if there are protections after three consecutive nights, you prohibit anything more than two).
RedLibrarian

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Posts: 24
Reply with quote  #6 
I don't know what you should do in this case. But I think we all need to be prepared to take service animals eventually. They're allowed on planes, offices, stores, and schools, and I'm sure the argument can be made, if it hasn't been already, that landlords need to accept service animals even if the property has been a pet-free location forever. And I don't know if it will be legal to charge a pet deposit and/or a cleaning fee if the animal is for service. 

I'm wondering if you can put something in the lease for next time that no pets can visit either. 

I'd want to tell your tenant that you'll keep a certain amount of the deposit when they move out to apply toward a pet cleaning, but I don't know if that's legal.

Let us know what you do!

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LLinVA

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Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #7 
The problem is there is a huge difference between actual service dogs and the emotional support animals that ANYONE can get 'certified' as emotional support animals. Service dogs help blind people, alert people with diabetes and epilepsy that they are about to have an incident, etc. Emotional support animals sit there and do nothing. They aren't trained to help with a legitimate disability, which is key to being an actual service animal. They simply exist. Yes, there are some people who genuinely need them for actual issues such as PTSD. But the VAST majority are completely fraudulent ways for people to keep their pets around them when there are no pets/animals rules. It is important for landlords to know the difference.

If you have a no-pets policy then you have to accept genuine service animals and cannot charge an extra deposit or pet rent (this will obviously vary by locality), UNLESS they pose a genuine risk (i.e. someone's service dog is aggressive) or require unreasonable accommodations.

You can withhold a deposit for any damage. You couldn't hold it because you knew there was a dog if you can't point to the damage it did and show actual loss.

Note: the safest way to refuse someone with an emotional support animal is not to mention the animal at all. Focus only on other factors that you apply to all applicants such as credit score, income, previous landlord's reference, etc. 
sonny29

Registered:
Posts: 91
Reply with quote  #8 
@LL

with this being said, can i just say NO the my tenant? Being that his girlfriend is the one who has the Emotional Support Dog and she is not on the lease agreement.
LLinVA

Registered:
Posts: 216
Reply with quote  #9 
I would at least say the dog can't be there without her. You might have issues if you try to say it can't be there even when she is there. If they REALLY wanted to argue it, it may be more hassle than it's worth. If the HOA isn't hounding you to prohibit the dog entirely, I would just say it can't be there without her.
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