Defining whether a person is a guest of your tenants or becomes an unauthorized tenant living in your rental property can be a very stressful situation without an easy answer. This week a landlord asks veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi this question. Hank has some short, quick advice on this one.

Dear Landlord Hank,

I had a unauthorized tenant move in to a building under the cloak of authorized tenants.

I did not notice when he moved in as an unauthorized tenant that he had a dog in a no-pet building.

Upon confronting the issue, the tenants said that I knew about him and his emotional support dog.

After days of crazy combative BS it was clear he was a stowaway. I was bullied and scared of the emotional support dog and the guest’s PTSD so I let him become authorized.

Now his dog and he are damaging the building and he lets his dog out to piss and poop on/near the A/C units and I fear those will be damaged as well.  I am bullied and scared. I am not sure how to address this guy. The poor dog is bred to want to run and exercise but he is stuck in a little apt all day…ugh!

I asked for vet records and they are not the best records and training is not present. He did present an emotional support letter from a doctor and I called and verified it. I feel I have been legally hoodwinked. Any knowledge of a loop hole/legal knowledge for this?

-Landlord Cee

Dear Landlord Cee,

Please find an attorney that specializes in landlord/tenant law and seek council.

This is a complicated situation and I can’t begin to advise you.



Hank Rossi

Here are related posts that may help:

Why You Need Exact Names Of Parties On The Lease

Dear Landlord Hank: Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals, Help!

About the author:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals. We did maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. ”  Visit Hank’s website here.

Dear Landlord Hank: Long-term guest or actual unauthorized tenant?

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