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Ask Christopher B, Esq Your Own Question
Christopher B, Esq
Christopher B, Esq, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 2677
Experience:  Litigation Attorney
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My tenant in NJ got a dog without my permission. Then they

Customer Question

My tenant in NJ got a dog without my permission. Then they left dog feces in the yard and my contractor couldn't work. I found all this out through my contractor's complaint. When I confronted them, they claimed it's a service dog while not mentioning
why they didn't clean after the dog or if they have any documents to support their statement. I want to send them a certified mail and document everything. The following is my letter. May I know if my letter is consistent with the law and how I should improve
it. Any suggestion? "1. Service dog or not, you didn't get my permission to have a dog in the house in the first place. Please give me all the relevant information for the dog. I need to have them and also show the city. 1) Dog's breed, gender, weight, age,
and color. 2) Proof of any occupant with a disability. 3) Proof of the dog is tasked trained as a service dog. 4) Physician's official note on a function of daily living that the dog assists with. 2. Have a service dog doesn't entitle you to allow the dog
feces to pile up around the residence. You are still responsible for any and all damages done by the dog. If the dog damages the property, I have the right to terminate our lease. For instance: 1) if handyman/contractor can't work on the house due to dog feces.
2) if the dog is not restrained properly when I am in the property. 3) if the dog damages the residence in any way. 3. I will start eviction if the relevant documents are not provided or the rules above are not followed."
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.
My name is***** and I will be helping you with your question today. This answer is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

First of all, the language in the lease controls whether the tenant can have a dog on the premises. If the lease specifically states that the tenant cannot have a dog then they have broken the terms of the lease (with exception mentioned below).

See link:
http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_lti/pets_bulletin.pdf

"The Law Against Discrimination as set forth in N.J.SA. 10:5-29.2, prohibits discrimination against handicapped, blind or deaf people in renting or leasing housing accommodations. A handicapped, blind or deaf person who has a service or guide dog, or who obtains a service or guide dog, shall have full and equal access to all housing accommodations and shall not be required to pay extra compensation. Any lease or rental agreement prohibiting pets shall not apply to a service or guide dog owned by a handicapped, blind or deaf tenant. The tenant is responsible for any damages done to the premises by the service or guide dog."

So according to N.J.SA. 10:5-29.2, you should probably not include your #1 in your proposed letter. Although the tenant should probably have informed you of the fact, you can not discriminate against "handicapped, blind or deaf people" and cannot evict them solely on the basis of them having a service dog. If must have a proper reason to evict under New Jersey Statute.

Under the Anti-Eviction Act, in most cases notice is required to be sent to the tenant before an eviction case can be filed. The notices are called a Notice to Quit and Notice to Cease. A Notice to Cease simply tells the tenant to stop doing something that is a violation of the Anti-Eviction Act. A Notice to Quit tells the tenant that they have to move out because they have violated the Anti-Eviction Act or they have ignored a previous Notice to Cease. The amount of time the tenant has to move in the Notice to Quit is different, depending on why the landlord is evicting them. The law does not specifically require a notice period for a non-payment of rent violation, but it is still preferable to deliver a Notice to Quit in that situation too. The Notice periods are as follows (I only included those related to you):
(1) Damage or Destruction to Landlord's Property - 3 Day Notice to Quit
(2) Violation of Landlord's Rules - Notice to Cease, then 1 Month Notice to Quit
(3) Violation of Lease Agreement - Notice to Cease, then 1 Month Notice to Quit

If there is noone that fits the definition of "handicapped, blind or deaf people" that appropriately rents the property then obviously the statute would not apply allowing nondiscrimination against "handicapped, blind or deaf people". Even if they appropriately have a service dog, the statute states "The tenant is responsible for any damages done to the premises by the service or guide dog". You must ascertain damages and could evict if the situation fits the information I provided previously. As to the letter, I would copy some of the language provided and also add in citations of New Jersey Statute to make the letter more official and take out #1.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or require any additional guidance. Please do not forget to positively rate my answer as this is the only way that I am compensated for my work.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Customer wants a different Expert, kindly opt out - Customer Service
Expert:  Christopher B, Esq replied 1 year ago.
I have opted out and will let someone else answer your question. I hope you find the answer you are looking for.