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Unauthorized pets

Our tenants moved in a year ago with a three year lease. In December of 2012 our neighbors called and reported pit bulls in the house. We have a no pet policy and our insurance will not cover dangerous breed dogs. Our agent sent an email to the tenants and they said that they got rid of the dogs (3 pits) but refused to clean the carpet and get the house treated for fleas and ticks. they also refused to pay the $250 non-refundable pet deposit. In February of 2012 our neighbors reported seeing pit bulls again. Our agent sent a certified letter to cure or quit. Animal control picked up two pit bulls. Again, they refused to pay the pet deposit and treat the house for pests. Now, our neighbors have called again stating that there is at least one pit bull that runs in and out of the house. Our property manager is no longer with us because she refused to enforce the lease. My question is, is our neighbors writing a sworn affidavit stating that they have seen the dogs numerous times in and out of the house proof enough for us to start the eviction process. We have given them many chances and it is clear that they are not going to abide by the lease when it comes to the no pet policy. Also, we are at risk of our insurance canceling on us if they find out and they are putting us at legal risk with a dangerous breed dog. The tenants also haven't paid the rent this month...

My agent quit back in February, several months before the the contract was to end (Oct.). She said that the tenants were "unstable" and she actually had to get two policemen to escort her to the property out of fear. The owner of the agency's name was on the contract, as well. She sent us numerous emails stating that our property was too far for her to travel to and that our neighbors' reporting that they are seeing a pitbull running in and out of the house isn't reason enough for her to investigate. She also said that the tenants were a liability she wasn't willing to deal with. Our lawyer suggested that we not let her out of the contract because of so many things going on with the tenant. We just received our deposit money back from October because she refused to return it because we refused to sign a waiver of liability. We called the NC Board Realtors and she is now under investigation. We just found out a few days ago that the tenants still have dogs. I talked to the tenants a week ago and they insisted that they did not have dogs. The tenants received the certified letter notifying them of the late rent, late fee, and summary ejection if the rent wasn't paid. My mistake was not putting that it was due in 5 days of receipt of the letter according to the lease. Ugh. Anyway, tomorrow is day five. I talked to another agency yesterday and it said that he could get them out. As long as we had the correct paperwork and the neighbors' sworn statements. This will cost me $500 plus court costs. I think this will be worth it.
How are they paying a pet deposit if you have a no pets policy?
According to our former rental agent, if someone has an unauthorized pet, then they are required to pay the $250 non-refundable pet deposit that is required by tenants who are allowed pets. This applies if they are pet sitting or have a pet for one day or one year. This is the agency policy and is stated in the lease.
The Agency was wrong in their policy about the tenant requiring a deposit. No pet means no pets. Period. The lease agreement should have a paragraph stating a big fine (ex: $200/day/pet) if a pet is brought onto the property……. Get a report from the Animal Control. This should be sufficient proof along with the letter sent by the Agency. I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. Since they haven’t cured the Lease violation and they haven’t paid the rent, it’s time to start eviction. You should also want to send them a Notice to Pay or Quit, now…… Next, I would look into suing the Agency in Small Claims. Hopefully, you received a letter from them stating that they are dropping you. If not, let me know. -----Disclaimer: Since I’ve been answering a lot of questions, I thought I would make the following statement. I’m not affiliated with EZlandlord Forms. I’m just here (not sure how long) to help those that have questions. Having 40+ yrs with Rental Property and done well, it’s my way of “Pay it Forward (check out the movie).” However, it is up to you to become familiar with your State/Local laws. I always like to know if the suggestions I offer are helpful. Feel free to comment anytime. Thanks in Advance. BTW...check out the Rental Property Organizer at Free Trial Download with data.
If you let things slide for too long, judges will rule that you "authorized" these things by your non-enforcement.
my sympathy to you as I know you will be out a lot of money to fix your property.  As a long time landlord I would highly recommend that you start the legal paperwork to evict them. I am not familiar with the laws in your state.  Here I go on-line to the counties web site and find out what your landlord rights are and what your tenants are.  These are free sites, and most of them have assistance for landlords and tenants that will answer your e-mail or phone questions to get you pointed in the right direction.  In your case a lawyer is probably a good consultation after you do the homework I suggested above.  Make a list of questions, keep it precise and short, and most lawyers will give you a free consultation and if your legal paperwork is in order, you could probably due all the paperwork yourself depending on the local laws.  Most lawyers will scare you into hiring them.  That makes it very expensive. Most states will give you the ability to try and recoup in small claims court, and you have most of what they want, due diligance in informing the tenant in writing of the problem, etc., chances are you will get a judgement, but it is hard to get money from these type of renters.  My best advice is in the future, never ever let a tenant have pets when they sign an agreement they will not, here you can give them a 3 day fix or quite order, if they fix it, then they get notice to leave immediately, the only way to solve the problem, they know they will never have to pay all the costs of fixing the mess they make and they never intend to, so you need to find another renter.  My experience is you can never re-train a bad renter, the more chances you give them, the more you usually have to pay to fix before renting again:(
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