If I broke my leaseit has a”no-pet” clause andI took in a stray, what can the landlord legally do to me?

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If I broke my leaseit has a”no-pet” clause andI took in a stray, what can the landlord legally do to me?

Evict me? How long do I have to move out? Can they keep deposit? What if there’s no damage at all? How long do I have to find the kitten a new home? What penalties can I incur due to having a pet not allowed on lease? My lease is up in July; they have a deposit of $3,500, can they keep that for keeping the pet until my lease is up? Landlord wouldn’t even accept charging me a higher rent, just said, “I hate animals, its not about the damages”. What are my rights here?

Asked on April 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are violating your lease, which is the same as breaching a contract (since a lease IS a contract). For violating the lease--whether or not there is damage done--the landlord can evict you (though he first has to give you a notice to cease, or stop the violation). And once you're evicted, the landlord can also sue you for the remaining balance due under the lease, and/or apply the security deposit against the amounts due.

You don't have "rights" because this isn't about "rights"--it's about a contract. You signed a lease with a no pets clause; you didn't have to (you could lived elsewhere) but chose to do so. Having done so, if you violate the lease, you can have your tenancy terminated and be sued for the money you owe. It's your decision to make what to do, but ask yourself whether its worth eviction and paying money when you're not even living there any more to take in a stray cat.


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