Does my landlord have the right to say no to pets even if it’s a pet-friendly rental?

By Tenant

Before anything else, know that having a pet in a rental property is actually a privilege and not necessarily a right. Landlords would agree to having a pet in their rental property because it broadens their scope of tenants and it also reduces their turnover rates because they know that you won’t have lot of other options. With that said, you will be expecting that your landlord will set the rules for pets in a rental property.

The following are only some of the basic rules that your landlord may have about pets in rentals:

  1. There could be limitations on the kinds and number of pets allowed. These limitations would be based on the size of your rental property, your neighborhood, your landlord’s insurance company and what your local codes have to say about acceptable pets. A local municipality or city may say that your dog breed is dangerous while in other areas, it could be pretty acceptable.
  2. There are other landlords who would tell you to declaw your cats or have them spayed. Just make sure that these are within the state and federal guidelines on animal rights.
  3. Your landlord may require that your pet gets proper identification, vaccinations and licenses. This would include the requirement to wear identification tags or collars even within your rental unit.
  4. You will also be held responsible for your pets. The rest of the lease agreement would still hold true so if your pet create a nuisance and disrupts your neighbor’s right to peaceful enjoyment then you will be held responsible. Repeat violations to the lease agreement because of your pet may result in your eviction.
  5. You will be charged a pet fee. It would depend on your landlord whether he will charge a security pet deposit or a monthly pet rent.

Your landlord is embracing a huge risk to his rental property by allowing your pets in. No matter how well-behaved your pet is, there could still be damages from chewing, urine and claws.

When should you file a complaint?

You should file a complaint against your landlord if you feel that you have been discriminated because of your pet’s physical appearance. For instance, if you were denied tenancy because your pet is blind or only has three legs. This is granted that your pet breed is considered safe and acceptable by your municipality.

To file a complaint, you can use RPA’s mediation services. This is the link to their complaint form:

Edited on: Monday, February 25th, 2013 11:34 pm

15 Responses to “Does my landlord have the right to say no to pets even if it’s a pet-friendly rental?”

My response: (We welcome stories, examples, explanations, answers and a touch of your personality)


February 25th, 2013 11:40 pm

Yeah, landlords pretty much have a say regarding pets on a rental property. But they cannot charge unreasonably high fees. I’ve seen pet deposits range from $100-$500, while some go over the top. I don’t think that’s legal.


February 26th, 2013 11:40 am

Correct. Plus confusion could arise from charging two security deposits – one for the pet and the other for the tenant. It could become difficult to distinguish when your or your pet’s security deposit would kick in for damages to the property.


February 26th, 2013 11:20 pm

This article just said it. Pets are privileges so if you have found a rental property that accepts them, it’s best to keep a good relationship with your landlord. Looking for another place can be very tiring and it could take a long time before you find a new one.


February 27th, 2013 11:00 am

One pet is enough. Having four or more is just too many for a rental property. You may consider renting a house instead of an apartment if you own multiple pets.


February 27th, 2013 11:00 pm

Declawing is out of the question. I would never go with a rental property that requires me to declaw my pets.


February 28th, 2013 10:40 am

I honestly don’t think landlords make a lot of money by allowing pets on rentals. In most cases, they would find themselves needing more money to fix the rental property in time for the next tenant. The pet security deposit is almost always not enough and collecting for more would often be very difficult to do since the tenant has already moved out.


February 28th, 2013 10:20 pm

I am a landlord and I would never allow pets in a rental property. They are just too costly for my investment.


March 1st, 2013 10:20 am

Yes and even if the tenants have already moved out, the dander would still remain at the unit. So if the next tenant is allergic to pets, they would most likely not rent to you if they can smell the dander during the first walkthrough.


March 1st, 2013 10:00 pm

There are a lot of renters with pets and I woud love to invade that market too. So what I did was I replaced the carpets with tiles. Hardwood floors are out of the question.


March 2nd, 2013 9:40 am

If you are renting a property that has a wide lawn, then maybe you can consider having tenants with pets. But if the rental is in an apartment complex, you may prefer the quiet pets so as not to bother your neighbors.


March 2nd, 2013 9:20 pm

In some places, they do not charge any pet fees but the tenant would need to agree to pay for deep cleaning by a company preferred by the landlord. So I would suggest that you weigh your options well with regard to the cost.


March 3rd, 2013 9:00 am

I understand how people could love pets but as a landlord, I have a general rule. If they’r dogs, they need to stay in a doghouse outside of the house.


March 3rd, 2013 8:40 pm

I think nonrefundable pet fees are very unethical. I mean, there are people out there who create more trouble than their pets do. So by putting all pets in the same category for destruction is not fair. If you are being treated this, your landlord is being discriminatory and you should file a complaint through the RPA.


March 4th, 2013 8:20 am

The sad thing is, pets do a lot of damage that exceed the security deposits. And when we send out an itemized list of the previous tenants, they get angry because apparently, their security deposits are not enough. I don?t see anything fair there.


March 4th, 2013 8:00 pm

As long as you’re responsible enough to keep a pet, there shouldn?t be any problems. Just train your pet and make sure that it carefully goes by the rules set in the lease agreement.


Yes, the RPA® Can Help You!

Filing an official complaint is the nation's fastest way to solve tenant problems.

Not Ready? Learn more...

Virginia Complaint Filling Deadline  Tips/Suggestion

Need Help Filing Your Complaint?

Agents Available Mon- Fri 10am to 10pm

Recently Resolved Complaints:

See how the Nation's Rental Authority has helped thousands of tenants already!

Ask Question:

Post a new question to the RPA Tenants rights forum.

You Have Tenant Rights.
Recently Posted Questions:

Over 4,000 questions have been asked by tenants including these new posts:

Tenant Rights Categories

Popular categories about renters rights.