What are our rights if there isn’t anything in my lease about a pet policy?

UPDATED: Jun 30, 2015

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What are our rights if there isn’t anything in my lease about a pet policy?

My roommate has a dog. We emailed asking if we could get another pet. They said yes and forwarded an email between the landlord company and our landlord okaying it. We got a cat and have had it for a few days. He found out it is a cat and now is saying we can’t have a cat. Is that legal to do?

Asked on June 30, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No, it's not legal. A lease is a contract; the parties have the obligations in it--and only the obligations in it. If there is no "no pets" policy (or a policy requiring landlord approval of the pet), then you can have pets--the landlord cannot restrict you in any ways not supported by the lease. Of course, if the cat does damage--urinates on a wood floor, staining it; scratches wallpaper; etc.--you'll have to pay for it, because you are liable, or financially responsible, for damage done by your pet(s).

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