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Can I change a month to month rental agreement to require only cash payments and no dangerous dogs?

Bellingham, WA |

I have a bad tenant who bounces checks and replaces them later, effectively giving me rent 20 days late. The lease calls for a penalty, but she does not pay it. Her dog kills chickens and bites people. She had a one year lease, but is now month to month. I don't want to evict her until better weather, to avoid a vacancy now when it will be difficult to fill, but don't want to put up with the bounced checks and her dog. Can I give 20 days' notice to change the terms?

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Attorney answers 3


You have to give 30 day's notice to change terms, and the 30 days has to coincide with the day rent is due. So you could give notice December 1 to be effective December 31. It has to be in writing.

If you know that this dog is killing chickens and biting people, have you advised Animal Control? They have a strict protocol for dealing with dangerous dogs.

Elizabeth Powell

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Thanks so much for your answer. Yes, I contacted them, and they said I had to have witnesses fill out incident reports for the bites and chickens, and then they can call it a dangerous dog, but they can't do anything else after the fact. They said if it was within 10 days of a bite that drew blood, they would quarantine the dog, but then would return it to the owner after the 10 days. So I was told my only recourse would be to prohibit dangerous dogs in the contract, and then have it declared a dangerous dog. I am in the process of collecting witness statements to have it declared dangerous. The property is in the county, so I am dealing with the county animal control.


I agree with Ms. Powell and the lack f control of her dog maybe be a liability for you and take all steps necessary to protect yourself and hopefully your lease has a nusiance provision and you can give her notice to cure the problem or end the lease.
Good Luck

Only If and until you and I sign an Agreement for Legal Services, I am not your attorney. These answers are provided for informational and/or novelty purposes



Thank you! Yes, my contract does have a nuisance provision...


Having a vacant house sometimes is better than having a bad tenant, especially one that is not paying rent on time and has a dog that "kills chickens and bites people". One or more of the victims may sue and name you as a defendant.

Sure, if you go through the statutory steps, you can require the tenant to pay by cash or cash-equivalent and get rid of her dog. However, she may just move out. If you accept payment in cash, you will need to give the tenant a receipt for the cash.



Thank you. I agree. However, it's difficult to make the mortgage without that rent, so I'm trying to hold out until after the holidays, so I can fill the vacancy sooner. I have given her notice repeatedly that her dog cannot be outside her yard without being on a leash, she just ignores it, so I'm trying to take a different route. I appreciate your assistance.

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