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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10215
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I moved in about 5 months ago to an apartment complex that

Customer Question

I moved in about 5 months ago to an apartment complex that was previously listed as permanently closed. That should have been a red sign. However, it is now owned by another company. Recently, I moved my dog in and presented a letter for a companion animal due to some recent traumatic events that happened which led to increased anxiety. My landlord let me know that even though I presented the letter to them that I would still have to be charged the unauthorized pet fee for having her on property. She had previously stated that it would have to be paid as soon as I am able to as this is a low income facility and I am making enough to get by. As far as rent goes, I have so far paid all of my rent on time and even before June, paid it a couple months in advance so that I would not have to worry about it. I wrote them a check for the amount of rent and they processed it without a problem. However, today I got a 3 day pay or quit for the unauthorized pet fee. There are no dates on it other than the date it was served. All it says in the rent owned is the 300.00. While reading and doing some research I found this;
"Non-compliant pet fees
ORS 90.302 has been amended to include authorization to charge noncompliance fees to tenants for failure to clean up the waste of a service/companion animal from a part of the premises other than the dwelling unit. (The point of this change was to encourage owners of those animals to pick up animal waste at a property just like any other tenant would be responsible for.)
In addition, there was a change to the section of the act that addresses the penalties for keeping an unauthorized pet capable of causing damage to persons or property as described in ORS 90.405.
Initial noncompliance fees are limited to $50 (see ORS 90.302(3)(a)(A). However, a fee for a second or any subsequent noncompliance relating to an unauthorized pet can increase to a maximum of $250. Those unauthorized pet fees may not be imposed until 48 hours after the warning notice has been delivered to the tenant."
What I don't understand is why they are back tracking what they originally said and why it's being served in this manners. And why would you served it, without word ( Noone knocked on my door and I was home) at time of closing on a Saturday night when nothing can be done at that time. If the maximum is $50 or $250 then why are they being allowed to charge 300+? Furthermore, I feel like something is off. She had done something like this before in regards ***** ***** companion animal but quickly retracted when I had gone over her head and tried to speak with the company manager. I really need some advice as I moved back from Florida and am unfamiliar with the Washington law regarding this matter. Thank you in advance. Jaime
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you in this matter.

Is this property located in WA or OR (ORS 90.302 is an Oregon Statute, but you give you make a note about moving back to Washington State).

Also, is there an issue with not cleaning up after your service animal? (Keep in mind, I am not making a judgment call but I do need to know if this is perhaps an issue as opposed to the pet fee - while a landlord cannot charge a pet fee for a service/companion animal, if there is an issue with animal waste on the property, that is a basis for notice regardless of the animal's duties or function).

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Ah well, scratch that then because I do live in Washington. Guess my research was way off.This isn't a fee for not cleaning up after the pet although there had been mention of it. She specifically said this is because the animal was on property and the fee is listed as a "unauthorized pet:" fee. The non compliant fees such as not cleaning up after a dog are listed separately and are given after a warning.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 4 months ago.

Here is a WA state resource for companion animals that may be useful to you:

(It has the citations for Washington Law (the Revised Code of Washington - "RCW" as well as helpful forms and resources).

It may help you better address the situation.

But if you received a 3 day notice, you are also going to want to carefully address this issue as a potential unlawful detainer action as well (so the companion animal information acts as your "substantive defenses" - the law you want to argue if you have to go to court), but you must be very aware of the deadlines and filings (the procedural law) associated with an unlawful detainer.

So this link is going to be helpful with that: (Do not miss the deadlines! Most people lose these cases simply because they overlook a deadline)

Your local law library will also have resources to assist you with this matter (the King County WA law library has some online resources as well:

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