Home News I’m on a Monthly Lease. Can My Landlord Suddenly Evict Me and My Dog?

I’m on a Monthly Lease. Can My Landlord Suddenly Evict Me and My Dog?

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Q: My wife and I have rented a three-family apartment in Queens, NY for the past 10 years. Whenever our son is replaced by the US Army, we have his golden retriever sit a dog. Our first lease gave us permission to do this, but it expired many years ago and since then we have a monthly contract. We are now in the dog seat again. The landlord recently told me that the building only allowed dogs under 20 pounds, even though the original debt did not include a weight limit. (Other tenants in the building have dogs, but dogs are smaller than us.) The landlord told me that he could move at any time. Can he really kick us out?

A: A: Your position is unstable because you have a monthly rental contract. Your landlord can decide to end it at any time-with appropriate notice-unless his actions are discriminatory. In your case, he can terminate the lease with 90 days notice under New York law. So, according to Darryl M. Vernon, a real estate attorney representing people with companion animals, if he decides he has a dog big enough in the building, he can keep a pet in his original debt. Even if you can, you can lose your apartment.

But hope is not lost. Your landlord allows dogs under certain circumstances. “They may be able to solve this,” Vernon said.


Landlords may be concerned about safety if size matters. This particular dog sometimes (probably without incident) lived in the building, so you can talk from his experience about his behavior and temperament.

Ask the landlord to discuss the rental terms with your dog. Your son is a soldier who has been away for some time, and the dog explains that he was well-behaved in the past. Address size concerns directly and ask how you can mitigate landlord concerns. For example, you can agree to stay away from other tenants and pets. If you can get the landlord to agree to this, request a new one or two year loan that includes these terms.

But if the landlord isn’t upset, your son may need to find other arrangements for his dog, otherwise you and your wife are at risk of losing the apartment.

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