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Can a Landlord Make You Get Rid of Your Dog?

Can a Landlord Make You Get Rid of Your Dog?

As a dog owner, you may find it challenging to find a rental property that accepts pets. Many people, especially those who think of their dogs as members of the family, will be troubled by the central question: can a landlord make you get rid of your dog? 

This comprehensive guide seeks to illuminate this issue. We will explain why landlords have no-pet policies, the legal implications, and what to do if your landlord will not let you keep your dog. 

If you also want to know if a landlord can stop any dog from visiting your apartment, read this post too.

Why Do Some Landlords Have a No Pet Policy?

Real estate landlords have different pet policies. However, a sizable number choose a no-pet policy for a variety of reasons. Property damage tops the list, as pets, especially young or active ones, can inadvertently cause scratches to floors, chew on furniture, or create situations that entail costly repairs.

Additionally, landlords factor in the potential for disturbances. Noisy barking or aggressive behavior by pets may disrupt other tenants, resulting in a less desirable living environment and potentially causing landlords to lose renters. 

Insurance-related liabilities also come into play. Certain insurance policies might exclude coverage for incidents involving pets or impose higher premiums on properties that permit them. This adds a financial burden for landlords, who may either pass on these costs to tenants or simply opt for a no-pet policy to avoid complications. Understanding these rationales is essential for tenants negotiating pet-friendly leases or pet-restriction clauses.

Can a Landlord Make You Get Rid of Your Dog?

The answer is yes, but the context holds significant weight. If you’ve entered into a lease agreement that clearly stipulates a no-pet policy, you are legally bound to adhere to this provision. Violating it could provide your landlord with legitimate grounds to request the removal of your pet or potentially initiate eviction proceedings. It’s crucial to consistently read and comprehend your lease agreement to steer clear of such complications.

If your landlord is persistently trying to force you to get rid of your dog, it might be a sign they want you to move out the rental property. You can find out more signs your landlord wants you to leave here.

Can a New Landlord Make You Get Rid of Your Dog?

A change in property ownership can pose unique challenges for pet owners. When you’ve been residing in a pet-friendly rental and a new landlord assumes control, subsequently opting for a no-pet policy, the situation can become somewhat complex. 

Typically, your existing lease agreement remains valid until it reaches its expiration date, which implies that the new landlord cannot immediately enforce different policies. Nevertheless, alterations can be introduced once the lease is up for renewal. If you have concerns, your initial course of action should involve reviewing your lease for any clauses related to “change of policy.”

If the landlord doesn’t know about your dog, you could try and hide your pet so they can’t make you get rid of them.

What To Do When Your Landlord Tries To Make You Get Rid of Your Dog?

Defend yourself and your pet if your landlord asks you to give up your pet. Start by meticulously examining your lease agreement to pinpoint any sections related to pet ownership. If the lease doesn’t explicitly forbid pets or if the landlord has previously given permission, you might have a legal basis to retain your dog. 

Seeking guidance from a tenant’s association or legal advisor can provide you with a clearer understanding of your available options. Negotiation often proves to be a feasible path; you might consider offering a pet deposit as a safeguard against potential damages. Be diligent in documenting any such agreements to shield yourself from potential future disagreements.

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Common Restrictions Landlords Place on Tenants With Dogs

Landlords who permit pets often implement specific guidelines to mitigate potential issues. These restrictions can encompass factors such as pet size, breed, or the allowable number of pets. 

For instance, a landlord might specify that only dogs weighing less than 20 pounds are acceptable or exclude breeds labeled as ‘aggressive.’ Frequently, these regulations are influenced by the landlord’s insurance policy or local regulations. Tenants might also be obligated to furnish evidence of vaccinations and spaying or neutering. 

In some cases, landlords may request references to affirm your pet’s behavior. Familiarizing yourself with these typical restrictions can aid tenants in effectively navigating the process of locating a pet-friendly rental and maintaining it.

Your landlord might also put a limit on the number of animals allowed in the rental property.

Legal Exceptions on Tenant Pet Policies

It’s important to highlight that specific legal provisions can supersede a landlord’s no-pet policy. Federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act mandate landlords to provide ‘reasonable accommodations’ for tenants with disabilities. This encompasses permitting service animals or emotional support animals, even if the property typically bans pets. 

To qualify for this exception, there are precise criteria and documentation prerequisites. Tenants must furnish substantial evidence that the animal is indispensable for their physical or emotional health. Consequently, if you possess a qualified service or support animal, a landlord’s standard no-pet policy cannot legally be enforced against you.

What You Can Do To Minimize Issues With Your Landlord and Your Dog

Actively communicating with your landlord is the best way to get along with them. Thoroughly review your lease agreement and openly discuss the pet policy before signing. Proposing to pay a pet deposit can enhance your appeal as a tenant. 

After moving in, it’s vital to ensure your pet behaves well and doesn’t disrupt neighbors or harm the property. Maintain up-to-date vaccination records and consider obtaining pet insurance that encompasses third-party liability. Being a responsible pet owner not only serves your interests but also contributes to a more accommodating rental environment for fellow pet enthusiasts.


Negotiating pet ownership in rental properties requires a deep understanding of legal and personal obligations. Although landlords can enforce a no-pet policy, tenants can find some safeguards in existing lease agreements and federal legislation.

Effective communication, thoughtful preparation, and seeking legal guidance are vital resources for handling this complex matter. You can improve your chances of finding a home for you and your pet by understanding your rights and those of your landlord.

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