Can Landlord Evict You for Having a Pet

Landlords have the authority to evict tenants for having pets in the property, but there are limitations. Typically, the lease agreement dictates the terms regarding pets, including whether they’re allowed and any associated fees or deposits. If you decide to get a pet while living in a rental, it’s crucial to review the lease agreement and seek written consent from the landlord before acquiring the pet. Violating these terms could result in eviction. However, there are exceptions and legal protections for individuals with disabilities who require assistance animals.

Tenant Rights and Pet Ownership

As a tenant, you have certain rights and responsibilities when it comes to pet ownership. Understanding these rights can help you avoid disputes with your landlord and ensure a harmonious living environment for both you and your furry friend.

Common Grounds for Eviction Over Pets

  • Violation of Lease Agreement: If your lease agreement specifically prohibits pets, keeping one without your landlord’s consent can result in eviction.
  • Unreasonable Disturbances: If your pet causes excessive noise, damages the property, or poses a threat to other tenants, your landlord may initiate eviction proceedings.
  • Health and Safety Concerns: In cases where your pet poses a health risk (e.g., carrying contagious diseases) or creates an unsafe environment, your landlord may have grounds for eviction.

Tenant Responsibilities

  • Comply with Lease Terms: If pets are allowed in your rental unit, ensure you adhere to any pet-related clauses in your lease agreement, such as breed restrictions or weight limits.
  • Obtain Permission: If you wish to keep a pet in a “no-pet” rental, seek written permission from your landlord before bringing the pet into the unit.
  • Control Your Pet: Keep your pet under control at all times, ensure it is properly leashed when outside, and prevent it from causing damage to the property or disturbing other tenants.
  • Clean Up After Your Pet: Be responsible for cleaning up after your pet, both indoors and outdoors, to prevent unsanitary conditions and unpleasant odors.

Landlord Responsibilities

Landlords have certain responsibilities towards tenants with pets, including:

  • Following Fair Housing Laws: They must abide by fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination against tenants with disabilities who require service or emotional support animals.
  • Enforcing Pet Policies Fairly: Pet policies should be applied consistently and reasonably, avoiding arbitrary or discriminatory practices.
  • Providing Reasonable Accommodations: Landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities to ensure equal access to housing with their service or emotional support animals.
State Laws on Pet Deposits and Fees
StatePet DepositPet Fee
CaliforniaMaximum of two months’ rentNo limit
FloridaMaximum of one month’s rentNo limit
New YorkMaximum of one month’s rentMaximum of $250
TexasNo limitMaximum of $300

It’s important to note that these are just general guidelines, and specific laws and regulations may vary from state to state and even from city to city. Always refer to your local laws and consult with your landlord or a legal professional if you have any questions or concerns about pet ownership in your rental unit.

Landlord Policies and Restrictions

Many landlords have policies and restrictions in place regarding pets in their rental properties. These policies can vary widely, but some common restrictions include:

  • Prohibiting certain types of pets, such as aggressive breeds of dogs or exotic animals.
  • Limiting the number of pets allowed in a unit.
  • Requiring a pet deposit, which is a refundable fee that is typically used to cover any damages caused by the pet.
  • Charging a pet rent, which is a monthly fee that is paid to the landlord for the privilege of having a pet in the unit.
  • Requiring proof of vaccinations and/or a veterinarian’s certificate of health for the pet.

Eviction for Violating Pet Policies

If a tenant violates the landlord’s pet policies, such as by bringing an unauthorized pet into the unit or failing to comply with the terms of the pet agreement, the landlord may take action to evict the tenant. The specific process for eviction will vary depending on the jurisdiction, but generally, the landlord will need to provide the tenant with written notice of the violation and an opportunity to cure the violation within a certain period of time. If the tenant fails to comply with the notice, the landlord may then file a lawsuit to evict the tenant from the premises.

Landlord’s Duty to Accommodate Reasonable Accommodations

Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords are required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, including allowing them to have service animals or emotional support animals in their units, even if the landlord’s policy generally prohibits pets. To qualify for a reasonable accommodation, the tenant must be able to provide proof of their disability and the need for the animal. The landlord is not required to make an accommodation that would create an undue hardship, such as if the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

JurisdictionRelevant Laws
  • California Civil Code Section 1940.5
  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
New York
  • New York Real Property Law Section 235-f
  • New York City Human Rights Law
  • Texas Property Code Section 92.005
  • Texas Fair Housing Act

Legal Implications of Pet Ownership

Pets can provide companionship, reduce stress, improve physical and mental health, and enhance overall well-being. However, owning a pet also comes with legal implications that both tenants and landlords need to be aware of. In many cases, landlords may have policies or restrictions related to pet ownership in their rental properties. These policies can vary, but generally, landlords cannot evict a tenant solely for having a pet.

Rights and Responsibilities of Tenants and Landlords

Tenant Rights

  • Right to have a pet: In most jurisdictions, tenants have the right to keep pets in their rental units, provided they comply with the terms of their lease agreement and any applicable laws.
  • Reasonable accommodation: Tenants with disabilities may be entitled to reasonable accommodations that allow them to keep a pet, even if the landlord’s policy prohibits pets.
  • Pet deposit: Landlords may require tenants to pay a pet deposit, which is a refundable fee that covers potential damages caused by the pet.

Landlord Rights

  • Pet policies: Landlords have the right to establish pet policies for their rental properties.
  • Breed and size restrictions: Landlords may restrict certain breeds or sizes of pets, due to safety or insurance concerns.
  • Pet fees: Landlords may charge pet fees, which are non-refundable fees that cover the costs of accommodating pets in the rental property.
  • Eviction: Landlords can only evict a tenant for having a pet if the pet causes damage to the property, creates a nuisance, or violates the terms of the lease agreement.

Avoiding Eviction for Pet Ownership

To avoid eviction for pet ownership, tenants should:

  • Read the lease agreement carefully: Understand the landlord’s pet policies and comply with all applicable terms.
  • Obtain written permission: If the lease agreement prohibits pets, ask the landlord for written permission to keep a pet.
  • Pay pet deposit and fees: Pay any required pet deposit and fees promptly.
  • Keep the pet under control: Ensure that the pet is well-behaved and does not cause damage to the property or disturb other tenants.
  • Clean up after the pet: Keep the pet’s living area clean and free of odors.


When it comes to pet ownership in rental properties, it is essential for both tenants and landlords to understand their respective rights and responsibilities. By following the legal guidelines and communicating effectively, they can create a harmonious living environment for all parties involved.

Summary of Legal Implications of Pet Ownership
Tenant RightsLandlord Rights
Right to have a petPet policies
Reasonable accommodationBreed and size restrictions
Pet depositPet fees

Alternatives to Traditional Housing

If you’re a pet owner struggling to find pet-friendly housing, explore these alternative housing options:

  • Private Housing
  • Approach individual landlords to negotiate pet allowances and terms. Some may be open to allowing pets with additional rent or security deposits.

  • Pet-Friendly Complexes
  • Check for multi-family complexes or apartment buildings that have specific policies allowing pets. These often have designated areas for pet owners.

  • Renting a Single-Family Home
  • If feasible, consider renting a single-family home where you have more control over pet-related decisions and outdoor space for your furry friend.

  • Manufactured Homes
  • Investigate manufactured or mobile home communities, which often have open pet policies and provide affordable housing options.

  • Cooperative or Co-Housing Communities
  • Look into cooperative housing or co-housing communities that may have more flexibility in pet policies and create a sense of community for pet owners.

  • Temporary Housing
  • In immediate situations, consider temporary housing options like extended-stay hotels, pet-friendly Airbnbs, or boarding facilities.

    Tips for Finding Pet-Friendly Housing

    • Start your search early.
    • Be proactive and ask about pet policies upfront.
    • Provide a well-written and detailed pet resume.
    • Offer references from previous landlords or neighbors.
    • Be prepared to pay additional pet rent or security deposits.

    Negotiating Pet Policies: Important Considerations

    • Highlight your pet’s positive qualities and training.
    • Propose a pet addendum to the lease outlining rules and responsibilities.
    • Consider a DNA test to verify your pet’s breed and temperament.
    • Offer to cover any potential pet-related damages or cleaning fees.
    • Be willing to compromise and find a solution that works for both parties.
    Landlord’s ObligationsTenant’s Obligations
  • Verify pet policies with local laws and regulations.
  • Provide reasonable accommodations for assistance animals.
  • Clearly communicate pet policies and procedures to tenants.
  • Adhere to pet policies outlined in the lease agreement.
  • Maintain control over pets in common areas.
  • Clean up after pets and dispose of waste properly.
  • Inform the landlord promptly of any pet-related incidents or damages.
  • Well, there you have it folks! I hope this article has been able to shed some light on the legality of pet ownership in rental properties. Whether you’re a landlord or a tenant, it’s always best to be aware of your rights and responsibilities when it comes to pets. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back soon for more informative and engaging content!