It is legal for a landlord to go against a verbal agreement and terminate a lease because of the type of dog we have?

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It is legal for a landlord to go against a verbal agreement and terminate a lease because of the type of dog we have?

We have had the dog for almost 4 months. We adopted her from the humane society. Upon adoption the landlords were notified she is a Pit-bull by the humane society. Permission was given by the landlords to adopt her. Now the landlords are telling me I have to get rid of her or move. She has never bit or was ever cross with anyone or anything.

Asked on August 9, 2011 Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Agreements are enforceable.

First, look to your lease, if you have a written lease; unless the lease has some sort of a no-pets or pets-only-with-landlord's-permission clause, you don't need the landlord's permission in the first place. When there is a written lease, the landlord, like the tenant is bound to its terms; among other things, that means that he or she cannot impose additional restrictions or conditions on the tenant not included in the lease.

Second, if there is a no pets, etc. clause, then if there was an oral or verbal agreement if the  landlord to allow you to keep her, that agreement is enforceable as per its terms. However, bear in mind that proving an oral agreement, if the other party will claim it didn't exist or meant something different, can be difficult; if the landlord decides to push the matter, you have to weigh is it worth litigation--litigation you may lose--to try and keep the dog.


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