What to do if I recently just became the new owner of a black lab puppy and was charged a $300 pet fee, yet there are other tenants with dogs who have not been charged?

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What to do if I recently just became the new owner of a black lab puppy and was charged a $300 pet fee, yet there are other tenants with dogs who have not been charged?

In addition an employee, of the complex where I was charged, did not pay a fee for her dogs either. I feel as if I’m being charged because an employee does not like me. What do I do? I feel as if I’m being discriminated against.

Asked on January 18, 2013 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your discrimination if for an illegal reason like racial or gender discrimination, then you could potentially have a discrimination complaint.   Take what information you know about this company and arrange for a consultation with an attorney that handles these types of claims to see if they can help you develop the additonal factors needed to support a discrimination complaint.  It's not enough to show that you were treated differently.  You must also show that it was for an illegal reason.

If the reason for the charge is simply that the employee doesn't like you, then your legal remedies are contractually limited to your lease.  Even though not the best consumer practice, a landlord is free to make exceptions for various rules, including the imposition of certain fees.  If it's a particular employee that is the problem, you may want to consider visiting with her bosses to complain about the unequal treatment of tenants, especially when you have been good paying tenant.  You may be able to get a waiver of the fees or a refund.  Another non-legal option is to file a complaint with a local consumer watch-dog group (no pun intended).  With the economy as tough as it still is, many don't want to risk a bad online review, and this may be the motivation that you need to encourage their cooperation.


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