Can landlords prohibit animals in their California rentals?

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2022 | Real Estate

Pets can be messy and expensive, but they can greatly enhance someone’s daily life. A companion animal like a dog or a cat can provide someone with emotional support and motivation to exercise. Tenants renting in California may feel happier when they have a  pet to greet them after a long day at work or be more likely to take care of themselves by getting exercise when a pet needs a walk.

Of course, for landlords, pets are often a serious issue. The mess and noise that they create when left alone as tenants go to work for the day could do serious damage to a rental unit. The expenses involved in providing their food or veterinary care might force a tenant to miss rent payments. The dander that pets bring into buildings could also trigger allergies in other tenants.

Landlords and tenants often have differing opinions on animals, and both parties need to know their legal options to resolve a disagreement about an animal.

Landlords often want to charge for pets

Typically, landlords get to determine what tenants can do in their properties. Some landlords do not allow any animals at all. They make it clear in their rental advertisements and lease paperwork that the only animals allowed on their premises are homo sapiens.

Other landlords will accommodate pets with proper financial motivation. Many landlords require a pet deposit and possibly also a cleaning deposit. Some landlords will go so far as to assess an additional fee for rent every month because a person has a pet. Tenants may feel angry about such charges, but landlords likely view them as a necessity to offset the risk and expense involved in allowing animals in their building.

Landlords have to allow certain animals

Regardless of the building policy or the allergy status of established tenants, landlords have few options when it comes to service animals and emotional support animals.

Federal and California state laws require that landlords accommodate tenants who need an animal for their mental health or physical well-being. Provided that the tenant has the appropriate paperwork, they can expect their landlord to work with them and to waive any deposits or rental costs associated with pet ownership.

Learning about the unique rules that govern animals in rental homes can help both tenants and landlords better assert themselves on what is often an emotional and complex issue.