Can a Landlord Make You Get Rid of Your Dog? [Answered with Tips on How to Keep Your Dog]

Many people consider their pets an important part of their family. But owning one can sometimes be challenging when renting a home.

Landlords often have specific regulations regarding pets. In some instances, they may demand tenants to get rid of their fur babies.

If you’re new to renting, you might wonder: Can a landlord make you get rid of your dog? 

In this article, we’ll discuss whether they can legally require you to do so. We’ll also talk about your options if you face this situation.

If you don’t have the time to read through it all, here’s a short answer to the question:

A landlord can have a no pets policy and insist that you get rid of your dog as a condition to renting their property. There are limited exceptions in the case of service dogs or emotional support animals, but as a general matter, a landlord has the right to exclude pets from their rental property.

The information contained in this post is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice.  You should seek the advice of a qualified legal professional before making any decisions relating to the topics covered by this article.

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Understanding Landlord Pet Policies

Many landlords have a no pets policy. This means that a potential applicant cannot have a pet when they move in and cannot get a pet after they’ve moved in.

Most landlords will specify whether dogs are allowed in their units early in the screening process. In fact, many make clear in the advertisement for the property that no pets are allowed.

On top of that, their application often asks if any pets are going to be occupying the property and the lease will likely state in very clear terms that pets are prohibited.

All of this is done to ensure that tenants know through every step of the process that dogs are not allowed and won’t be allowed in the rental.

Why Do Landlords Have a No Dogs Policy?

There are many reasons why a landlord may restrict tenants from bringing dogs into their rental property. It’s important to remember that these restrictions aren’t always personal, though.

Here are some reasons why a landlord may not allow pets: 

Fleas and Ticks

A dog that is not properly protected against fleas and ticks can bring them into the home, which can spread diseases and generally make the dwelling less sanitary and desirable.


Some landlords worry about the safety of their tenants and their neighbors. If a pet has a history of aggression or has a breed has a reputation for being dangerous, that can raise serious problems for the landlord if there is an attack.

Property Damage

Let’s be honest. Our furry buddies can get a little wild sometimes. From chewed-up furniture to scratches on floors, pets have been known to cause havoc on properties.

And not every tenant is conscientious. Pets who are left alone for long periods of time or are not properly trained can urinate or defecate on the premises and unfortunately, some tenants are not great about cleaning the mess up. This can lead to seriously unsanitary conditions.

Noise Complaints

While we love our dogs, other tenants may not be so happy with the noise.

Barking dogs and loud pets can disturb neighbors and cause quarrels between tenants. So, landlords may restrict pets to keep the peace.

Common Restrictions Landlords Place on Pets

Not every landlord will prohibit dogs outright. In some cases, they will allow dogs on some type of limited basis. Here are some of the most common limitations:


Landlords may impose breed restrictions on canines and other animals. Certain breeds, such as Pit bulls and Rottweilers, may be viewed as more aggressive or dangerous than others. 

Some proprietors may be unwilling to assume the potential liability for allowing them on the property. In some instances, breed restrictions may be dictated by local or state laws.

Weight Limits

In addition to breed restrictions, landowners may also set weight limits for dogs. This limitation ensures that larger breeds won’t cause property damage or disturb other tenants.

It’s particularly common for multi-unit buildings or apartments where noise complaints can be a big concern.

Number of Pets

Limiting the number of animals permitted on the property is another common constraint they place on dogs.

This policy can help prevent overcrowding and lessen the likelihood of problems. Moreover, landlords may charge additional fees on tenants with multiple pets.

Legal Exceptions to Dog Policies

As a responsible owner you might be concerned about leaving your dogs behind. There are, however, exceptions that’ll let you keep your furry best friends with you.

Even if a landlord has a no-pet policy, the law mandates them to allow service dogs. These canines are trained to assist individuals with disabilities.

Furthermore, emotional support animals may be allowed in some cases, provided they’re certified by a licensed mental health professional.

Working animals, such as police or search-and-rescue dogs that visit hospitals and nursing homes, may also be exempt.

If you require an exception, you should communicate with your landlord and provide legal paperwork to accommodate your companion.

Options When Your Landlord Asks You to Get Rid of Your Dog

If the property owner requests that you give up your pet prior to moving in, you have a few options. For starters, talk to your landlord and see if you can work something out. You can offer to pay additional rent or put up a larger security deposit to lessen the financial risk for the landlord.

If you have gotten a dog even though it is not permitted under the lease, then you may be facing eviction based on a violation of the lease terms.

If your landlord finds out, that could be a serious problem. Unless there is a legal exception (like the ones we discussed above), you will need to either give up the dog or move out and find another place.

Note that the landlord may still hold your responsible for the remainder of the rent under the lease term, so you should be very careful about getting a dog in violation of the lease.

Wrapping It Up

If you want to rent a place and have a dog, you should know that the landlord has the right to turn it down.

But it’s not always personal, and the law protects both you and the landlord. It’s important to know their rules about pets and what you can and can’t bring with you.

Hope this has been helpful and happy renting!