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Dimitry Esquire
Dimitry Esquire, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  JA Mentor, multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation & admin
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I had an issue with my landlord concerning a leaking roof.

Customer Question

I had an issue with my landlord concerning a leaking roof. It took 2 months to get the problem corrected. There are still areas on the wall where you can see water damage and also the carpet where the water was leaking from was not replaced. There are also several other parts of the ceiling that show damage. After the guy had done the repairs, my landlord walked in without my knowledge. He noticed a cat (that was not approved) and complained about my dog(service dog) because she had gotten sick while I was out. He verbally told me I have 2 weeks to have the carpets cleaned professionally and to produce a receipt. He also stated verbally that he would be back in 2 weeks to check out my apartment. (he has come in several times without notice). I had not been staying at my apartment more than an hour a day due to my fear that mold could grow because of the water damage and the heat. I also have a 4 year old son and was concerned that he may get sick if they did not fix the problem in a reasonable timeframe. In my mind this would be within 2 or 3 weeks at most. There were a few flies but nothing that could not be easily rectified. He also has told me verbally to get rid of the cat. I got this cat after I had approval in writing for my service dog. There is nothing in my lease that states anything of a pet policy, the need for notification, or any pet deposits/rent. He is now saying either I get rid of the cat or he will evict me. Can he do that?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Dimitry Esquire replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I am a licensed Pennsylvania professional and will be happy to assist you with your concerns. If I may ask, are you a month to month tenant, or are you under a signed written contract under a long-term lease, such as an annual contract? And just to be clear, there is nothing in the contract as far as any sort of a pet, be it permitted or barred?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am under a 1 year lease. that ends in 2.5 months. This is my first lease I have signed with this landlord. There are no limitations for pets at all within my lease. He verbally stated that he did not want pets. However, all other occupants have a pet. My dog is a service dog. and the cat I got after I had approval for the dog. He has stated I have to get rid of the cat, and possibly my dog. or I can remove myself before he evicts me.
Expert:  Dimitry Esquire replied 2 years ago.
Hi, First of all, do not place your service animal and the cat in the same category. The service dog is NOT a pet, and you are entitled to have him based on the A.D.A. regulations (the Americans With Disabilities Act permits you to have any service animal provided that it is properly trained if you are unable to perform certain duties for yourself). The cat is different--that IS a pet. Pets can be limited or controlled by the landlord, and a landlord can charge a 'pet fee' or additional costs for repairs if a pet ended up damaging the property. But a landlord cannot retroactively bar pets--so if there is nothing in writing as far as keeping pets on the premises, the landlord cannot now state that you cannot have pets. Furthermore, if he does try to evict and there is nothing in writing stating that you cannot have pets, you can counter sue and argue 'retaliatory eviction' based on the fact that you made him make repairs as far as the property is concerned. And if he forces you to get rid of the dog, then the suit against him becomes that much stronger--as that is a violation of federal law. Sincerely, ***** *****

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