I’m leasing apartments with a “no animal policy” but one of my tenants was prescribed a “companion animal” by her doctor. She even has a doctor’s note for the cat. Some other tenants are allergic to cats, and this policy is one of the reasons they chose to live here. Do I have to allow this?
Yes, you do. The fact that other tenants may be allergic is irrelevant although you are certainly within your rights to require the cat to remain inside its owner's apartment.
You should speak with a local attorney regarding your rights and responsibilities as a landlord.
If we do not have a signed fee agreement I am not your attorney and this is not legal advice.
I'm not really certain that you're stuck with kitty. While there are a number of Illinois statutes talking about "companion animals" and include cats in that group, nowhere is there a statute I could find that mandates that people be allowed to keep such animals when prescribed by a physician. This is a cat, not a guide dog.
However, let's assume you're stuck with the cat for the time being, you don't have to renew the lease when it terminates. Alternatively, if there's no lease and it's a month to month tenancy, you can exercise your right to terminate using a 30 day notice. Before you choose either option, however, you should talk to a local attorney and have him or her prepare the documents and counsel you on how to serve them. Mess this up and you're running the risk of a lawsuit.
Please be sure to mark the best answer to your question. My answers are general and do not form an attorney-client relationship. I'm happy to talk to prospective clients in my areas of concentration and geographical location.
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