What do I do if my tenant . . . . . has a pet, and no pets are allowed per the lease?
First thing, if you are on good terms with the tenant, talk to them about this. Find out if this dog is a visitor or permanent resident. Next, go over with them that you have a lease that clearly states that they cannot have a pet. I would speak to them and also provide this in writing as you may need proof of this discussion based on what happens next.
If you are willing to consider a pet, a pet deposit and pet rent are pretty standard these days and could be an additional source of revenue for your income property. Suggested pet deposits are usually non refundable and range from $200-$600. Pet rent is usually between $15 per pet to $50 per pet depending on your area.
If the tenant keeps the pet, and cannot have the pet here is an example of what I have seen in the past:
Lets say your tenant has an illegal dog named Fluffy, in your Columbia Maryland rental property. Our first step would be that we would send the tenant the required 30 day notice to abate or vacate. This means either Fluffy goes in 30 days or everyone goes. Our recourse after the 30 days under the Maryland tenant code is to do an inspection to look for evidence of Fluffy in the rental property, under MD law we have to give the tenant 24 hour notice before we show for the inspection, and magically when we are there Fluffy is not present and all signs of Fluffy ever existing are also missing.
We have no proof that the issue was not abated to go to court with and try to evict the tenant on. The next day the neighbors start calling in again to complain about the dog next door that never left or was only gone for a few days.
To have an eviction Writ issued on this quite difficult as the judge is going to ask for solid proof and give the tenant up until the day of the eviction actually happening to get rid of the dog, and that could take months, and then again, the dog will disappear. I know this is frustrating system, trust me, this is what I do all day every day.
At times I have had owners hire private investigators to gather the evidence for these cases, or have neighbors photograph or record the illegal activity over a period of time to present in court. Just be prepared that these sorts of eviction cases are not easy to win, but can be done with the right documentation and evidence.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.