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Can a landlord enforce a no pet clause after acknowledging that I've had a pet for a period of 18 months?

San Francisco, CA |

I signed a leased 2 years ago with my previous owner and he verbally agreed that I can have a dog from 2010 - 2012. In 2012 the owner decided to sell the property and we were required to fill out a rental information questionnaire during which I stated that I have a dog. The new owner was well aware of my dog from the beginning, and even met my dog on multiple occasions. After 17 months of no complaints, she gave me a 3 days notice to perform a covenant and cure my "breach" of rental agreement requesting I remove my dog. Is this legal ? All that is stated in my rental agreement is that, "No animals shall be brought on the premises without the prior consent of the owner." Does her acknowledgment count as consent? Can I report her actions to the San Francisco rent board? Thanks you!

Attorney Answers 3

  1. The defense you have is that she sat on her rights thus waiving the "No Pet" clause.

  2. Yes, you should contact the SF rent control board for assistance. You clearly had permission from the prior landlord and the new owner cannot revoke that permission based upon the facts you have stated.

    Since you have received a 3-day notice, however, you should also immediately consult local landlord/tenant counsel. I recommend you use the “Find a Lawyer” function here on Avvo to locate qualified, local counsel. Good luck.

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  3. Contact the rent board ASAP due to the 3 day notice. Without reading all of the lease language, it is difficult to say. However, the facts in your favor are: 1. That the prior owner gave you permission and that you relied on that fact; 2. the new owner had actual knowledge of the dog due to your honest answer to the questionnaire and did nothing for 17 months. By not taking action until now, her silence was taken by you as assent which you have relied upon for 17 months. Some individuals who live in apartments are able to obtain a "prescription" from their doctor for a dog. The health benefits of a dog are well documented (reduced blood pressure, anxiety, depression, increased immune system function - among many others). As a result, if your dog provides you any of these benefits, you can get a "prescription" or letter from a doctor which you bring to animal control to get a special certificate. Once you have that, your landlord cannot bar your dog from the apartment because it would be an A.D.A. violation. Psychiatrists and many family physicians write these prescriptions.

    This post and any other internet postings are for informational purposes only. Internet postings are not legal advice. No comments, answers, or other postings should be taken as legal advice. Internet postings do not create an attorney-client relationship. Receipt or viewing of content of an internet posting does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. There is no representation, warranty or guarantee that postings or comments are accurate. Please feel free to give us a call at the office if you would like a formal case evaluation. Best of luck with your case. Talitha.

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