Can my landlord charge me fees that aren’t in my lease?

In the lease, there is a section on pets, stating that domesticated cats are allowed, and in certain apartments (not mine) there are some dog breeds that are allowed. There is also a pet addendum, which specifically states that there are 2 pets allowed. There is a $250 non-refundable pet fee and a $250 refundable pet deposit. It does not say that this is per pet, nor for what kind of pet. It says nothing about how much pet rent is either. My landlord is trying to get me to pay $300 per cat and $60 for pet rent, and they said that the addendum is just an example. Can they do this?

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Ifyou have a written lease regarding the unit you are renting, you need to carefully read it in that its terms and conditions control the obligations owed to you by the landord and vice versa in the absence of conflicitng state law.

If you are being presented with an addendum that you did not sign where the landlord is trying to have you pay a refundable pet deposit after you have moved into the unit and you have no pets, you are under no obligation to sign the document let alone pay a pet deposit.

I suspect that your landlord is trying to get extra money up front from you and the other tenants when he or she is not entitled to such.

Good luck.


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