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Legal options for pet ownership in apt complex?

Prior to moving into my apartment's complex, I asked Manager how they felt about pets. I was told, with a doctor's written statement, the "No pet" rule would be waived, for cats. At that time, I owned an abandoned cat. Over the years, to relieve his boredom, I obtained a second "feral" cat. Management was made aware of this change. (Note: The turnover for Management is high here). Recently upon downsizing my apartment, I was told that I would have to get rid of one cat. It was believed that my cats had left my last apt's carpet loaded with feces. I explained that if anything was found it was hairballs, not feces. (They use the litter pan faithfully). Both cats have distinctive personalities and it would be difficult to choose which I'd willingly part with. Is anyone aware of possible legal grounds I could use to fight losing either cat?


Asked by Ewadun at 8:05 AM on May. 23, 2010 in Pets

Level 14 (1,661 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • do you have documantation stating you can have cats? if yes then you can go to court and ask the judge for a ruling. BUT with new management comes new rules and unless you have documentation stating what you can and cannot have-the judge can decide either way. this is a complete toss up, but pp made a good point, if you continue to sue and or legally bother the complex they will choose not to renew your lease at some point. then not only do you have to move but find a place that will take not one but 2 cats, who have a history of wreckin carpets(for whatever reason). food for thought.

    Answer by Bearsjen at 9:25 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • I think that if you had a cat(s) you would at least change the carpet. I had to buy a new A/C when I moved out. I like to think if I brake something I would have to pay or replace it. And who has carpet when having pets?????

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:10 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • Management doesn't have to let you have a cat, period. Medical note or not. Upon downsizing they may not think the square footage of the next apartment is big enough for two cats.

    Answer by sunshine58103 at 8:17 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • They own the building, they can set whatever rules they decide, for whatever reasons they choose. I don't think you really have any options here. From what you're saying here, they only allow a cat with a dr's medical note, and you don't indicate whether you have a medical condition or got a note, but you imply that you deceptively got a dr's note to allow you to retain the original cat and then at some point, got another cat. It sounds to me like they are just enforcing the rule that you tried to sneak around, and I think, in trying to fight it, you may only end up looking worse and potentially having to give up both cats. Do you have any friends or family that could take the cat for you for now, and then when your lease is up, you could look for a place that is more receptive to pets? That's about the only real option I can think of here.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 8:22 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • OP here: Original manager said it was OK, but didn't ask for written document until later. Upon Manager's request, I complied & doctor wrote statement attesting to my condition and how owning a pet would help. Several Managers later, I again was asked to provide updated statement because they misfiled or lost original. Again, I complied. Personally, I can't stand carpeting because I feel it hides floor imperfections & carpet ticks/dust mites. I am a responsible pet owner and although I didn't have the carpet professionally cleaned, I did shampoo it and vacuum throughout my years of tenancy. I was told that Management would have it professionally cleaned, as well as repaint the apartment, when I moved. In addition, I walked throughout the vacated apartment with the Manager, to assure I left it in decent condition and to be made aware of any damage costs. If you don't know answer, please don't respond.

    Answer by Ewadun at 8:40 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • To tropical mama: I live in Section 8 Building and the owner must comply to certain rules with the Government, State, etc. The rules, therefore, cannot be arbitrarily changed without informing ALL tenants and creating new leases. Although the "NO PET" rule was waived, I signed nothing indicating ownership of a cat, more less two cats. My obtaining the second cat  was rather slippery of me, but it's their loophole that allowed me to do so, upon my compliance with a doctor's note. I believe that I could legally argue that this opened the door for me to have unlimited cats, which I would not choose to own. Last, but not least, you probably need to know that I've successfully fought and won, on other technicalities with this Complex before. I don't believe I'm a troublesome tenant, just one with medical issues who will take a stand for my rights and the leniency given. I have no family in this state.

    Answer by Ewadun at 9:03 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • You can't post a question and then tell people not to respond. We're trying to help you out here. You may not like our answers, but that doesn't change the fact that they might be the ONLY answers. As others have said, they don't have to allow you to have a pet at all. It is their choice. You chose to rent the apt. If you don't like the rules they set, then break your lease, pay the consequences and find a place that allows pets. No one said you weren't a responsible pet owner. But you seem to expect your landlord to kowtow to you, and that just isn't going to happen. They lease to you, and rest assured, they can replace you as a tenant in no time. You can try to hire a lawyer and see if you have any legal grounds to fight them, but that's just going to make them turn around and try to evict you as a troublesome tenant. You're better off just getting rid of a cat.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:03 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • I don't fault you for standing up for your condition(s) and yourself. And I see your point about them leaving it open for you to do these things. But, at the same time...are you really helping yourself by fighting them like this? I mean, what if you decide to move somewhere else? You may not have any evictions, but I would imagine it wouldn't be too hard for a new landlord to find out about all this, and they could decide that they don't want to rent to you as a result. I think the best advice I can give you is to do what you need to do. And as for the family for the cat, no friends that would help you out either?

    Answer by tropicalmama at 9:15 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • I think the main part is the apartment you are currently in was okay, but in switching apartments you will have a new lease. Now that management has changed many times, the rules could be different now. Had you stayed in the original apartment, I'm sure keeping the cats would have been fine. It seems pretty black and white to me.

    Answer by sunshine58103 at 9:21 AM on May. 23, 2010

  • So it is really because of the downsize in apartment right? That makes sense and really I do think they are allowed to do that. I know they do it with people, Only a certain number of humans per bedroom.

    I think having the carpet professionally cleaned was going beyond what you needed to do so kudos for that. A renter shouldnt have to replace carpet as that is the landlords responsibility and really they should do that every few years anyway. The most they could do was keep a security deposit.

    I don't think there is really any legal recourse. Being on section 8 doesn't help anything as I'm sure they have strict rules.

    Maybe you can get another job or something and get a regular apartment and keep your 2 cats? I feel bad for you. I have 2 kitties and cant IMAGINE having to get rid of one!

    Answer by Tummysmomma at 9:33 AM on May. 23, 2010