What rights to landlords have regarding pets not claimed on the lease?

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What rights to landlords have regarding pets not claimed on the lease?

Can they evict all tenants or just the one harboring the pet (even if it’s against the other tenants’ wishes, but said tenants cannot remove the pet for other legal reasons)? Pets include/tanked pets like fish and reptiles.

Asked on August 23, 2011 West Virginia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your written lease specifically excludes pets with the rented unit and your tenants signed the lease containing this provision they technically "breached" the lease but this "breach" in and of itself does not appear to be a material "breach" warranting the termination of the lease.

Under the laws of this country, even though an agreement may be violated or breached, not every violation or breach warrants the agreement's termination.

The circumstances that you write about do not suggest any eviction of any of the tenants. What the circumstances warrant is a meeting with you and the tenants to come up with a solution to any and all of your concerns about the pets not claimed on the lease. The solution could be a written addendum to the lease and tenants pay an increased security deposit for having them, an agreement that the pets would be removed in a short time period, or some other mutually agreead upon solution by you and the tenants to the situation.

At the very least, you need to write the tenants a letter advising them of their violation of your lease and that you expect no further violations after you and they discuss the problem thoroughly. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference.

Good luck.


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