Can a landlord ask for a pet deposit after the lease is signed for another year?

My husband and I signed a new lease and there was no mention of pet deposit. Now she is demanding a pet deposit for each of our dogs, which is $350. Can she do this?

Asked on October 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

She can *ask,* in the sense that anyone can *ask* for money. But you don't need to give it to her. A lease is a contract; it binds both parties. Neither party may unilaterally change the terms and conditions, or require more of the opposite party than had been mutually agreed to in the lease. That means that once the lease is signed, the landlord may not require a pet deposit, except and only to the extent that there was something in the lease itself giving her the authority to do this, which is highly unlikely (never hurts to double check the lease, though).

Of course, when the term of this lease is up, she can make a pet deposit a condition of any subsequent renewal of the lease.


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