What are a tenant’s rights to have a dog?

My husband and I just started renting an apartment about a week to a week and a half ago. When we signed the lease the manager told us that we could have our dog but he didn’t tell us anything about the pet policy. We told him how big the dog is and how much she weighs. The day after we signed the lease he got fired. The maintence people tried to go into our apartment without us home one day and saw the dog and got scared. She did not growl or bark just stood at the door wagging her tail excitedly. Well the new manager told us that we had to get rid of the dog. However, legally since the previous manager told us that we could have her, can the new one tell us that she has to go? And, can they legally go into our apartment without us home and without our consent?

Asked on September 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Arkansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A lease is a contract. Neither the  landlord nor the tenant may add terms or restrictions to it, or otherwise change it, without the consent of the other party. Therefore, if the lease you signed did not contain any restrictions on pets, you may have a dog--even if the premises has a "pet policy," unless that policy is in some way incorporated into or referenced in the lease, it would not be enforceable.

The landlord's staff, agents, or contractors may go into your home without your conset if either 1) they provide proper notice (e.g. 24 hours plus) for inspection, maintenance, or to show the premises; or 2) it is an emergency (e.g. gas or water leak). They  may not enter otherwise.

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your presumed written lease does not have a pet exclusion within it, then under the laws of all states in this country you are entitled to have the dog in the unit particularly since the prior manager stated you could.

Under the laws of all states in this country a landlord can enter a tenant's unit after giving reasonable notice. Reasonable notice is typically at least 24 hours. Entry can be when the tenant is or not at the rental.

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