What should I do about my pet who doesn’t meet my apartment’s criteria?

We didn’t have dog when we moved in, therefore we did not signing a pet addendum. We have since gotten a dog but didn’t think to register it with the leasing office. Long story short, our dog doesn/t meet age and  weight requirements so they told us to find an alternative living situation for the dog as soon as possible. The lease we signed says if a pet is found it is $100 per month fine until the pet is removed from the premises (doesn’t give a timeframe). Breaking the lease will cost 2 months rent. I offered to pay the $100 a month. However they just said said no need, to just find a new home for it. Getting rid of it isn’t really an option and moving again so quickly isn’t fun either. Any suggestions?

Asked on December 4, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A contract is a contract.  And if your lease prohibits having such a dog then that's pretty much it. I'm afraid that you really don't have any other options.  The fact is that you must either relocate or get rid of your pet (and as a pet lover I agree this isn't much of an option).  The fact is that the landlord is willing to waive the $100 per month; that's more than fair on their part.  Frankly, I'd start looking for a new place ASAP and keep your landlord  posted on your progress.  If you don't they may just decide to play hardball and: (1) charge you the monthly fine; and (2) begin an unlawful detainer action (i.e. eviction).

Possibly, depending on how much more time is left in your lease (for example, 2 or 3 months), you could have your dog live with someone else until your lease ends, and during this time you could look for a new rental that will accept a dog of your pet's weight and age. 

Whatever you decide, best of luck.

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